I joined the town hall frenzy by visiting Congressman Mike Coffman's Littleton Town Hall meeting Aug. 12. As the nation is caught up in downing the …
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I joined the town hall frenzy by visiting Congressman Mike
Coffman's Littleton Town Hall meeting Aug. 12. As the nation is
caught up in downing the Obamacare legislation that'll come back up
when Congress reconvenes in September, I wanted to join the
I thought I'd arrived early, some 40 minutes before it was to
start, but the conference room was already filled, along with the
ante-room with closed circuit TV, A huge crowd was gathered outside
and in the hallways and foyer. Coffman's staff was consoling
everyone that he'd conduct a second meeting. The county sheriff's
office politely worked with the crowd. Shortly, it was announced
they were adding a third meeting to accommodate the crowd. No one
was complaining about these arrangements as they seemed to be
having a great fun at poking Obamacare and discussing views.
A contingent of Obamacare supporters had gathered outside with
some signs, but they were rather overwhelmed by people who were
vehemently opposed with bigger signs. My thought as I entered was
that we were all Americans, having our say. Sure. Some of the
pro-Obamacare signs irritated me, but I can take it.
I encountered several good friends and know they aren't the kind
of folks Democrats described as a mob, hauled in to attend. The
whole vicinity of Arapahoe Community College was simply packed with
cars, and I was glad to see that law enforcement wasn't making a
big stink about some questionably parked vehicles.
Speakers were set up in the foyer and hallway carrying audio of
what was happening inside at the first meeting. Clearly, supporters
of Obamacare had somewhat packed the first meeting, but it was also
clear that Coffman nicely held his own. We could hear lots of
cheering as he opposed many points of the main legislation being
contemplated and pushed by the Democrats.
Apparently those who came to roust Coffman didn’t count on there
being enough folks for three meetings. I got into the second
meeting, and there was only a small smattering of Obamacare
supporters. First, a member of Coffman's staff gave a factual
overview of the legislation without partisan comment. Coffman made
short but well organized comments on the mindset in D.C. and his
thoughts on Obamacare. Then he opened it to questions.
He had three lists — pro, neutral and con — of people who'd
signed up out in the foyer, which he worked through, faithfully
alternating between lists. I was struck that people asked very few
questions of him, and even some of those were rhetorical. Most of
those he called on were there to make statements or to give him a
message to take back to Congress and the White House.
Only one man made a real jerk of himself but, even with that, he
really wasn't booed. He was "groaned." He seemed to want to take on
the crowd and used the mantra of the day with little effect because
the crowd dismissed him with a huge groan and a laugh. I believe
that moment best depicted the attitude of the crowd. It was a real
head shaker. I'd worn my Vietnam Veteran "parade ball cap"
festooned with all my medals, colonel's eagle and wings. Channel 4
TV zoomed in on me shaking my head in disgust at his preposterous
diatribe and it was on 10 p.m. news.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi took hard hits in some comments and seems
to be the focus of much derision. Frequently, President Obama was
called a liar in no uncertain terms with examples cited.
I'd say Coffman hit a home run last night in his town hall. He
came off looking like a man who's doing what he was sent to
Washington to do. The people he called on ran the gamut, but I was
pleased that the elderly, middle aged and young folks who made
comments were mostly opposed to Obamacare.
My best moment came in the aftermath of the meeting. Out front,
I ran into some folks with signs I admired and we started talking.
Others came over and it was a great discussion of like
Then a gentleman with a cultured British accent came up and
started berating one young member of our group. Quickly, we focused
on what he was saying. He called us all "greedy" for not supporting
Obamacare. That didn't set well, but we were respectful. He then
said, "America is a democracy!" Instantly, the young man assured
him we aren't a democracy but a Republic. The gentleman disagreed.
I asked him to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. He said, "Why
should I? I'm not a citizen." One of the ladies turned toward the
flagpole and started through the pledge. When she got to "… and the
Republic" I said, "See, a Republic! Not a Democracy!"
At that point, the young man he'd accosted started giving him a
great lesson on "why we fought you," showing full knowledge of the
Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. It was
respectfully done, but the Brit turned tail, quite a bit the wiser
on how American politics works. I hope the Democrats in Congress
are learning the same lesson.
Curt Dale, a longtime Parker resident, is a retired colonel of
the U.S. Air Force and holds a Ph.D. in educational management.
Contact him at email@example.com.
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