High school marching bands, news reporters and hot sun mixed with more than 1,500 people protesting the “health care town hall that never was” led to a feverish debate.
The “health care town” of Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton, was promoted by his staff as a public forum. In reality, it was the annual meeting for the Florida Alliance, complete with ticketed seating and written questions submitted prior to the event.
The South Florida Tea Party had been promised one ticket to the event by FLARA Director Tony Fransetta. Yet when we Patriots arrived, we were informed that we were not on the list. I requested to speak to Fransetta and explained to the man guarding the door that we were reserved a ticket under Fransetta’s name. He told me that there was no Tony Fransetta on the list. I asked the guard who he worked for, and he told me the AFL-CIO.
Tempers flew when several other people who had tickets were also turned away. One woman, waving her ticket, asked, “What good is it?”
Outside, people lined the building. Members of MoveOn.org and the Democratic National Committee’s Organizing for America arrived sporting t-shirts, signs and buttons advertising their group’s name. This contrasted with the grassroots protesters who had homemade signs. The protesters outnumbered proponents nearly two-to-one.
A high school band was bussed in from Broward County. Many of the band members wore t-shirts that displayed President Obama’s face.
The event became personal for me when I was leading a rally chant with protesters. The news cameras started filming us when, all of a sudden, a small group of Organizing For America members shoved their way into the middle of a group of more than 50 protesters. When one tried to cover my face with her sign, I politely pushed it away. She then swung and hit me.
My advice to anyone attending these rallies is to understand that the Obamacare proponents are desperate and will resort quickly to violence if something is not to their preference.
Near the end of the rally, I saw a man walking through the crowd holding a sign that read, “ACORN Bus is leaving in 10 minutes.” The group filled a couple of buses in addition to the buses that brought the band.
Please click here for a link for more photos. Photos were taken by Tim Martin, member of South Florida Tea Party.