- Town hall meetings are a good thing and a healthy way to encourage debate in a thriving democracy (contrast with the situation in Iran, post-election)
- It doesn't matter if the "opposition" is organized (Astroturf, rather than grassroots, in Washington parlance) - that what organizers are supposed to do, and see above. More debate is better
- It is ironic, however, that the purpose of town hall meetings between constituents and their congressional representatives is being flipped on its head; instead of bringing people together and encouraging them to talk more, opposition groups are being sent forth with the express purpose of stifling debate and shouting down anyone who does not agree with their point of view
- Will there be a backlash at some point - will the public want to at least hear from those they have elected to represent them?
- It is amusing to see the accusations being tossed about ("read the bill!", "tyranny!", "Obama care") by both sides - while the two most important players in the game, the White House and the GOP, have not put forth a single plan (it is all Dems in the House so far) ...
Conservatives need to realize that the current system is unsustainable. No one thinks that a healthcare system run by for-profit insurance companies that leaves fifty million uninsured people in the US is acceptable, either from a moral or economic perspective - we are paying for them already in our current emergency room setups, like it or not.
Progressives need to drop the utopian vision of the public option and universal health care. As Matt Miller phrased it on Left, Right and Center, it would be a major victory for progressives to forge a system in which individuals' health care was not tied to their employers, as the Swiss and Dutch have successfully done.Every news article, every photo, every YouTube video of town hall meetings that lack any discussion over the future of the US healthcare system is not a scoreboard of who is winning and losing the debate in the public forum - it is another bell tolling, for each of us as a society, and we should all listen up.