The large meeting room at the Coweta County Justice Center was packed Monday night for a town hall meeting held by Congressman Lynn Westmoreland. The meeting centered largely on healthcare and national security.
A good portion of the meeting dealt with the ongoing, opposing view on healthcare held by Democrats and Republicans and the attempt by Democrats to have healthcare legislation adopted.
“The Democrats say we’re obstructionist. We can’t obstruct anything,” Westmoreland said of Republicans, who he insisted do not have the votes needed to affect a change of course on the issues.
But there is something happening to attempt to thwart Democrats’ plans, Westmoreland said, and it is coming from a grassroots initiative. “You are stopping it. The American people are letting their voice be heard. The silent majority has woken up. After 2008 the idea of governing from the center has not happened and the alarm clock has gone off.”
Westmoreland said Republicans are in favor of healthcare reform and are attempting thus far in vain to have their voices heard.
“The truth is we know that we need some type of reform. Regardless of what you’ve heard, we’ve put forth reform (proposals). At Blair House a lot of our guys were cut off. We want to start over with a blank sheet of paper,” Westmoreland said to applause from the audience. “I think there are a lot of things (Democrats and Republicans) can agree on.”
As Westmoreland talked about healthcare, positioned near him on a table was the 2,700-page healthcare proposal.
“People aren’t just upset with the product, they’re upset with the process and it being conducted behind closed doors,” he said. “They gave us 72 hours to read the bill. It changes on a daily basis. We don’t know what’s going to be in or out (of it).”
There is a degree of certainty if the bill as currently conceived eventually passes, he said. That certainty involves a “push back” by voters in the 2010 elections.
Responding to more audience questions on healthcare, Westmoreland said he believed that 85 percent of Americans are happy with their current healthcare. He offered a three-point position he said would address many of the inadequacies in the current system.
“Do we need a fix? Yes,” he said. “We need a pool for people to get coverage for pre-existing conditions. Policies should be portable so you can take them with you. And you should be able to go across state lines to buy a policy. I think most Americans agree with these three things.”
Westmoreland at the meeting also gave his views on national security.
“Reagan taught us that the best defense is a good offense,” Westmoreland said, referring to regimes like North Korea and Iran, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Obama administration’s current course of dismantling the missile shield initiative conceived by the Bush administration.
“Clinton tore the military down and we’ve been building it back up. “We’ve got to be strong in the world. When people go against democracy and human rights we don’t need to be supporting that.”
Turning to space, Westmoreland said the trek into space by other nations will become a national security issue, adding that cuts to America’s missile defense program will only exacerbate the problem.
One in the audience read the titles of five bills he said Westmoreland had sponsored in five years. None of those involved major legislation, he added. Westmoreland was questioned on what he would do to change that.
“My job is to serve the 700,000 people in my district. We help with Social Security and veteran’s benefits. So to me, helping people is my main job,” Westmoreland said, adding that as a member of a minority party it is difficult to introduce bills that have a chance of passing. “What’s more effective is amending bills that come to the floor.”
The next speaker said he did not care if Westmoreland had not introduced many bills. More laws equals less freedom, the man said to applause from the audience.
Yet another man from the audience, Dick Lindquist, expressed a type of outrage that was met with significant applause from the audience.
“I don’t know what to do,” he said of the debates over healthcare and the complaints of one party against the other that result in the continued disenfranchisement of many in America. “We have no leadership that’s guiding America. I’m an extremely upset voter.”
Westmoreland during and after the meeting addressed the man’s concern, saying that the solution will not come from putting Republicans or Democrats in office. The solution will come when patriots are elected to serve, he said.