Barack Obama showed his true colors during a recent trip to Montana. The president was in Bozeman, Montana earlier this month to conduct a town hall meeting with “citizens” on his health care reform plan. Naturally, most of what was really news was ignored by the press. However, I was fortunate enough to receive an email from a friend who received an email from a friend who was on the ground in Bozeman, before, during, and after Obama’s visit.
According to the account, the true details of the president’s trip were appalling. It amounted to an extravagant staged campaign stop for socialized medicine all at taxpayer expense. In the first place, the town hall forum was held in a remote hangar at the local airport even though several venues (auditoriums, gymnasiums) in town were available for the event. Thus, it was harder for average citizens to attend and seating and decorations had to be shipped in for the event. In fact, according to airport workers in Bozeman the airport was abuzz with loads of shipments for the president for most of the week leading up to the forum. One UPS employee even reported that thousands of dollars worth of lobster was shipped in for Obama and his entourage. Since Montana has some of the best beef in the nation and they are experiencing the same economic hardships as the rest of us during this recession, one would think the president would be a little more empathetic toward his hosts and purchase their product to help their local economy.
Of course, to get a ticket to see and maybe even ask the president a question was a complete runaround. Folks were not given the time tickets would be handed out until the morning before the day they were handed out. Then, not even half of the tickets printed were handed out. But, rest assured, folks with hard luck stories had their tickets. Ahead of time, the White House called Bozeman’s Human Resource and Development Committee to get the names of folks who have experienced health care woes. These folks got rides and tickets to the event all in an effort to give the impression that Montana was squarely behind the president’s plan to provide universal health care coverage to all Americans. And just to make sure the impression was perfectly cemented, any questions for the president either from the media or the loyalists in attendance were screened ahead of time by the White House.
So, there would be no free exchange of ideas on health care reform that Obama claims he is willing to listen to. Those who are opposed to nationalized health care were given a roped off area near the hangar to conduct their protest. But, their unencumbered peaceful protest was short-lived as a large busload of Service Employees International Union members was offloaded in their midst. Clearly, whether the presence of these unionists was orchestrated by the White House or some other entity, their purpose was to start trouble and/or intimidate the anti-socialized medicine protesters. As a matter of fact, one unionist was arrested for his aggression. The eyewitness account indicated that the union members were well-organized, young, and relentless in following around the anti-Obama plan protesters.
Now, I like many, have been a little dismayed at the behavior of some folks at the recent congressional town hall meetings. But, what do we expect from people who are frustrated by their elected officials' actions — rigging elections, voting big bailout dollars for corrupt corporations, and ignoring their wishes on issues as important as health care reform? The president is no different than members of Congress, but he obviously has the wherewithal to prevent the same scenes from happening at his town hall meetings. If Obama was really a president of the people he would yearn to hear our voices. He would travel modestly especially during economic hard times. He certainly would not tolerate organized henchmen being used to squelch First Amendment freedoms. Obama promised America “change” but what we have really gotten is shortchanged.