Some reporters come to Tea Party rallies not so much to cover them as expose them as hypocritical. On Thursday, Boston Globe reporter David Abel began his story on protests starring Sarah Palin in Boston by highlighting the Shirk family, with ten home-schooled kids – and Medicaid health coverage.
For the Shirks, it was a day for their children to seek inspiration from Palin and the other speakers, who questioned Obama’s patriotism and at least one of whom referred to him repeatedly as Barack Hussein.
The couple, who rely on Medicaid for their health care, were also upset about the nation’s new health reforms.
When asked why her family used state-subsidized health care when she criticized people who take handouts, Valerie Shirk said she did not want to stop having children, and that her husband’s income was not enough to cover the family with private insurance.
“I know there’s a dichotomy because of what we get from the state,’’ she said. “But I just look at each of my children as a blessing.’’
It’s easy to understand why Abel plucked them out of the crowd. He was looking for protesters with “dichotomies.” Then there was the man with federal veterans’ health benefits:
Some of those attending said the health bill’s requirement to buy health insurance signaled the arrival of communism in America.
Gene Theroux, of Springfield, held up a sign that read “Against Progressivism,’’ which he said meant he was protesting “the movement to socialism’’ and the United Nations’ “sovereignty violations’’ against the United States. The 57-year-old retired Air Force chief master sergeant said he likes his government-run health care administered by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, but he worries about what will happen when some 30 million newly insured Americans enter the system.
“Where does it say in the Constitution that there’s a mandate for all Americans to have health care?’’ he said. “This bill will ravage the health care that I get.’’
Abel also highlighted a college student, painting her as Fox News drone who didn’t know anything about ObamaCare except what she hears on TV:
Lindsay Lacombe, who wore an “I Love Fox News’’ T-shirt, drove in from Fitchburg, in part to protest the health care reforms.
“This was just something I really wanted to participate in,’’ said Lacombe, 22, a junior at Fitchburg State College. “I don’t understand how everyone can get free health care. It’s not right.’’
When it was explained that the new law requires many of the newly insured to make some contribution toward their health insurance, she said: “I’m not a political science major.’’
Others came to protest the protesters. Unsurprisingly, the reporter didn’t suggest in his passive-aggressive way the young leftists needed Norah O'Donnell-style “when it was explained to the young conservative idiot” rebuttals. Their claims were apparently sound and sensible:
Taylor Light, 19, a sophomore at Emerson College, held up a sign that read, “Get Off Our Socialist Commons.’’
“I think the tea party is a fear-mongering movement that spreads ignorance, hateful rhetoric, and anti-American ideas,’’ said Light, between debates with others in the crowd, whom he said shouted antigay slurs at him. “I feel a little overwhelmed by the rhetoric.’’
Eynice Ko handed out a “Pamphlet for the Informed Tea Party Member’’ that cited a Harvard study that found nearly 45,000 Americans die every year because of a lack of health insurance and a World Health Organization report ranking the US health system behind 36 other developed countries in overall performance.
"My goal is to dispel the misinformation that the tea party spreads,’’ said Ko, 21, a junior at Boston University. “If I can change one person’s mind, then I’ll be happy. I think a lot of people here don’t know what they’re talking about. They’re just angry at the government.’’
That sounds a lot like a Boston Globe reporter talking.