I made it to the Specter Town Hall meeting in Lebanon, PA today, August 11. I figured there'd be a crowd, but I found a bit more than I expected. I arrived at about 8:45am - the meeting was to start at 9:30am. Well, the line was several hundred long and stretched from the front of the building around the block to the back. I talked to a few of the people in line, and learned that the line started forming at 6:00am in the morning!! That's dedication! I checked out the back of the line and decided there was no way I'd get in, so started walking the line taking photos. Good decision. As I got about 100 or so people from the front of the line, entrance was cut-off. The hall was full - capacity of 250.
So I spent the next hour mingling with the crowds and taking pictures. There were a few in the demonstration who were for the health care bill (NOTE: Obama changed a bit today and started calling it Health Insurance Reform!! You can put lipstick on a pig, and it's still a pig!) Anyhow, those for the bill were far outnumbered by those opposed. But the crowd was relatively well behaved. I only saw a couple minor arguments break out.
There were a lot of professionally prepared signs. For those against, the sign of choice was "Hands Off My Healthcare!" For those for the reform, the sign of choice was "Health Insurance Reform. The Security and Stability We Need." The first was provided by Patients First - From their website, "Patients First is the health care project of Americans for Prosperity, a grassroots organization with more than 500,000 members nationwide." The later was provided by "Health Care for America Now (HCAN)." You can find them here. Interesting websites. You can find a lot of information . . . and disinformation . . . between the two.
I saw a couple SEIU T-shirts - of course on the HCAN side - and some people I think might have been ACORN. Both groups were outnumbered by at least three to one.
The police handled this very well. What I found interesting is that they kept the street in front of the venue open to traffic. This is a heavily traveled major route. The traffic essentially contained the crowd to the front of the venue and they other side of the street. Good tactic for crowd control.