Tag Archives: Town Hall Meeting

My Afternoon with President Obama – The OC Town Hall Meeting

Crossposted at the OC Progressive

We waited, many waited a lot longer than I did and I was lucky to be there in line, waiting and waiting.  It gave us a lot of time to talk, I’m sure the overnighter on Monday was difficult and still enjoyable, except for those who didn’t get tickets.

As I sat and President Obama came in and people chanted, “Obama, Obama, Obama” we knew it, we knew that Orange County was hungry, not for just change but for Democrats to be heard and seen in our County and for our values to be taken seriously by the media.  That 500,000 plus Democrats in “The OC” are not an anomaly but a force to be reckoned with.  And that we had found a voice for those values, a voice that was clear and proud of those values.  Orange County had arrived and was not longer just “red” anymore.

It was a long afternoon for me but worth it, worth the sunburn and the blisters on my feet.  It was worth feeling stinky and a bit sad that I wasn’t closer.  But it didn’t matter really, I was there.

I had a chance to say hi to Loretta Sanchez and she graciously allowed me to have a photo with her.  She always does, I’ve never heard her say no.  She just seems to love it.  I did not take a chance to chat with her because EVERYONE wanted their photo with her.

And a bonus?  

I got my photo taken with Debra Bowen, our amazing Secretary of State.  She’s a proud “nerd” as she put and so glad that our nerdiness was somehow okay under President Obama.  The Wonks had returned and policy issues and complex questions were okay again.

I have to admit, I follow her on facebook, she’s a tiny thing, which she admitted and she’s lovely.  I just adore when people who represent us in Government are warm and open and willing to talk to me.  Someone is willing to hear me.  It’s a nice change.

My partner in crime Gus was a godsend, I have to admit I wouldn’t have been there without him and he was kind enough to pick me up and take me, buy me lunch and give me bottled water.  Gus is a good guy and you could tell he was just overjoyed at every turn.  

President Obama didn’t disappoint, that was the best part.  Sure, I’d heard a lot of the same things I’d heard before but hell, I heard them in person.  It meant something to me to be there and hear him address all the issues we’re currently facing.  You see, Obama said that if others weren’t willing to take responsibility, he would.  He’s President, that’s what you do.

Of course some of the best things he said were important because they are so very true.  We have a President who can “Walk and Chew gum at the same time” and he does have to multi-task.  

Obama talked about how we can’t decide what issues to focus on, right?  I can’t just say, hey, I’ve got something I have to take care of and just miss a week of work?  You know, I can’t pay my mortgage this month, I’ve got other things to take care of, that okay?  It’s so true, we have to tackle all these issues together and it’s because they are so very closely intertwined.

A lot of the afternoon I thought of a friend, I thought of someone I know who’s husband is sick, he’s probably going to get laid off and they are struggling to keep up with his medical bills.  This friend works in an industry that’s struggling, will she keep her job?  I just kept thinking about her and about how she’s going to make it through this.  So much going on for her as she worked long days and struggles to keep things together.  

But I know that I’m not the only one thinking of her, so is President Obama.  I do feel that.  Obama understands that our health care system is strangling those already gasping for air.  

That we cannot fix immigration without fixing the whole thing, from employers who hire undocumented workers, borders that actually work and a humane way of dealing with all those people who are already here and have made roots in our Country.  

One questioner was a teacher who had worked in Santa Ana for 25 years and she had received her pink slip, along with a teacher of the year.  Obama promised that the bulk of the stimulus money that was allocated for education was to save teacher’s jobs.  The main purpose was to be sure that as few teachers were laid off in those States facing massive budget shortfalls just as we are in California.

Someone asked if he would run again in four years.  Yes, but President Obama had a brilliant response.  He said that if he had fixed everything he’d set out to do in the next four years, if he accomplished everything he wanted to, he would have no reason to run.  I highly doubt that will be the case, but I believed his sincerity.  

It was just a good afternoon to hear this amazing man speak to us, to those lost out here in the wilderness of Orange County.  I’m sorry to say but so many of us do feel lost.  And here was President Obama speaking to me, reaffirming my values and my priorities and representing so many dreams that won’t come true unless we do everything possible to change the path of our Country.

What was wrong with asking those making over $250,000 to pay what they paid under Clinton?  Isn’t that a good question, one that Obama was clear to ask.  They were still rich then, weren’t they?  Of course and he has no qualms about raising that 36% to 39% to pay for health care reform and all those other things that have been sorely neglected over the last eight years.

President Obama gets it and even as his Administration makes mistakes, he still gets that those mistakes are part of the learning process.  So, um, yeah, they forgot to invite Dana Rohrabacher, oops.  (Our Republican Congressman who represents Costa Mesa, where the event was held) and had Loretta Sanchez there instead.  I’m not sure if it was completely something that was an oversight or a purposeful slight.  Part of me doesn’t care.

So that was it, there were a lot of other questions and Gary and Charlotte watched it via CSPAN, no Mommy though.  I was there, I was there for sure and it’s something I shall never forget.

Lots of photos to follow. Just click on them to make them bigger ­čÖé

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket