Friday, March 19, 2010

Obama to speak at George Mason University

A progression of thoughts flew through my head this morning as I headed to work down Braddock Rd. In some semblance of an order they were:
1. Man, it's gorgeous out and it sucks that I have to be in the office today (I normally work from home on Fridays and can escape during the noon hour for a bit of sunshine).
2. Man, it sucks that I have to fight rush hour traffic on a Friday morning full of sunshine.
3. Why in the hell is rush hour traffic this stacked on Braddock Rd.?
4. Oh yeah, didn't I see something about a discussion of health care at George Mason this week?
5. Today? That's today? I wanted to tune into that. Crap. I have to work.
6. Wait, Obama is actually going to be at George Mason this morning?

Numerous signs posted around the entrance to campus reminded people of "heavy event traffic" in the area. The ginormous electronic billboard outside GMU somehow managed to capture the president's likeness, and the words "9 a.m. Health Care" loomed somewhere in the text below the image. I glanced at the dash. 8:28 a.m. Sigh. Sigh for forgetting that the discussion was happening (and thus planning accordingly, as it was open to the public and it would have been nice to have been there, as it was a Friday, and I don't usually go into the office on Fridays (see #1 above)) and for forgetting to take an alternate route to work.

7. Why are there people holding signs on the street corner outside GMU?
8. Oh yeah, there are people who don't like the legislation that is being debated.
9. Dear god, I hope they're not birthers. Are there any birthers out there still? I read a headline about Hawaii having new stringent rules about birth certificates because of the birthers.
10. Hawaii. That would be a nice place to visit sometime. But it's way expensive. And I don't snorkel.
11. Oh, it's only a few people--no massive protest. People in this area are relatively bright and understand that health care needs to be reformed.

I watch the succession of lights turn green, inch the car forward, turn red, and stop the car.

12. A few more inches and I will actually be able to read these hand-letter signs.
13. "Gerry + Pelosi = Conspiracy" What? Gerry? Oh, Connolly. Conspiracy? Seriously? Dude, whatever.
14. "Bigger government means smaller Americans." Okay, if you say so. These aren't...
15. Wait a minute. Holy crap. What is that?

Three people, one clearly a just-graduated or fairly young college student, presumably with his parents, come around the corner holding posterboards with a face on them. At first glance, it appears the face is that of Obama in white face.

16. Well, that's offensive. Can you imagine if someone put Bush in black face? I can't believe that they would... oh wait. That's supposed to be the Joker. As in, Heath Ledger's Joker. I can tell by the different-colored mouth. That's kind of stupid. Insulting, yes, but stupid. What if people read this as Obama in white face? And he's being called a cracker or an oreo or something?
17. Why am I spending so much time on these damn signs?
18. This traffic sucks.
19. [on sign with Obama as Joker] "Health care is not a right."

I slam on the brakes, narrowly missing the car in front of me.

20. What? What?! I'm sorry, what? Do you not have a grown child standing next to you? Is that child alive and well because you probably have health insurance and were able to take him to the doctor for preventive care and as well as when he got sick? What? Health care is not a right?!!!!
21. Let me out of this car. I will give this idiot a piece of my mind.
22. Damn, green light.
23. Damn, I'm so pissed, I could spit nails. Literally. Spit nails.
24. Health care is not a right? Seriously?

I drive for ten minutes, half-listening to NPR.

25. Since when is health care not a right?

Another ten minutes. Steve Inskeep is on assignment. Renee Montaigne is taking his spot.

26. Every person in this country has a right to be healthy. It's up to them whether or not they make healthy choices. And thus, every person a right to health care.

I pull into the parking lot at work, gather my computer, purse, lunch bag, and sanity.

27. I hope this bill passes. I hope we can move forward. I hope the man who thinks that health care is not a right never finds himself on the opposite side of the fence, being denied services in a timely manner because his insurance has lapsed or he can no longer afford the premiums.
28. Let's end this endless debate and move the HELL on.

Edited to add: Apparently, the image is old news and I am not at the cutting edge of the blogosphere. Now there's a surprise.

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