Friday, August 14, 2009

What's really happening at town halls

Dear MoveOn member,

Did you see the news? A former health insurance executive just went on record saying that right-wing mobs at town halls are the result of "stealth efforts by health insurance companies."1 And The Huffington Post reports that dirty energy companies are helping bankroll the mobs.2

It's infuriating—but the good news is that everyday folks are fighting back. And the great news is that we're making strides. In city after city, MoveOn Councils—local groups of active MoveOn members organizing in their communities—are proving to the media that the vast majority of Americans support the change agenda that President Obama ran on.

As we ramp up our "Real Voices for Change" campaign, here are some recent inspiring stories from MoveOn Councils around the country:

  • We're keeping it positive. At a town hall in Charlottesville, Virginia, national media were expecting a hostile and extremist crowd—but Rep. Tom Perriello was met by a large and very friendly group. NBC reported, "for the most part the crowd was subdued and in support of reforming the system."3 An event with Rep. Joe Sestak in Philadelphia, where the local MoveOn Council helped to turn people out, was "overwhelmingly civil."4 In Denver, at a high-profile event with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a few right-wing protesters compared President Obama to Hitler—but progressive protesters vastly outnumbered them.5
  • We're making direct contact with decision-makers. At a Jobs Fair in northwest Indiana, Council Coordinator David Lambeth handed a flyer supporting a REAL public option directly to Senator Evan Bayh—a key vote on health care reform—and had a quick conversation with him. The Council had organized a flyering event at that Jobs Fair precisely to create such a face-to-face opportunity.
  • The media is taking notice. Our signs and footage from MoveOn events are all over the news, including several national spots on MSNBC and NBC Nightly News (one of the most-watched shows on TV). And in one wild moment, conservative Tom Tancredo—a former Colorado congressman—actually waved a MoveOn health care sign on MSNBC!
  • We're getting good responses from members of Congress—even in "red" states. In Johnson County, KS, the Council organized a "honk and wave" outside of Rep. Dennis Moore's office. (Rep. Moore is a "blue dog" who supports the public option.) As Organizer Ian Rogers reported:
Despite some right-wing protesters who showed up and tried to disrupt the event, the members stayed strong and their efforts paid off. About twenty minutes after the right-wing protesters showed, Rep. Moore himself drove by the honk and wave.  He honked, the tea-baggers booed, and Moore gave the thumbs up to our people and honked again.

Thank you so much for all you're doing to push back against the misconception that right-wing extremists speak for all of us. And there's much more to do in the weeks ahead—keep it up.

–Nita, Lenore, Anna, Ilya, and the rest of the team


1. "Former exec: Insurers fomenting town hall chaos," The Hill, August 12, 2009

2. "Townhall Mobs—Brought to you by Big Oil and Dirty Coal," The Huffington Post, August 7, 2009

3. "Tom in Your Town Hits Charlottesville," NBC, August 11, 2009

4. "Sestak health-care meeting a spoonful of sugar," Philadelphia Enquirer, August 13, 2009

5. "Pelosi Protesters, Including Kid In Stroller, Compare Obama to Hitler," The Huffington Post, August 8, 2009

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PAID FOR BY MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION, Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. This email was sent to eddie alfaro on August 14, 2009. To change your email address or update your contact info, click here. To remove yourself from this list, click here.

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