Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Town Hall Meeting and the VA "Death Book"

Last night I attended a congressional town hall with Adam Smith (D-WA 9th) with a crowd of nearly 2000 people. So many people, in fact, that the venue had to be changed twice, finally ending up in a high school stadium.

The crowd, as you can imagine, was restive, but this time the pro health care reform people outnumbered the astroturfers by about 2 to 1. And you know how it is with bullies -- if they are outnumbered, they tend to be less offensive, less pushy. Less asshole-y.

Plus Adam Smith is a pro at working a crowd, and he handled the few vocal hecklers pretty well. The only fracas that developed happened when some jerkwad held up one of those infamous Obama-as-Hitler posters. Everyone around him started shouting, "Put that picture down!" Naturally he refused to do it, and finally someone tore it away from him, crumpled it up and threw it over the railing onto the field. Then a small scuffle broke out, but I was sitting too far away to see any of the details of it.

But that was the only incident really worth mentioning. Otherwise people who were asking questions of the congressman were by and large respectful, even those who disagreed with him.

One guy got up and asked Smith if he knew about the "death book" that was being passed out by the VA and asked him to have it pulled from all VA facilities. Smith said he didn't know about it, but that he would look into it. Then the guy said that he'd heard about it on Fox News Sunday...

The crowd -- at least our 2/3 of it -- groaned loudly and almost in unison. I think the guy was a little put off that his favorite ox had been gored.

That VA "death book", by the way, is a pamphlet entitled "Your Life, Your Choices", and you can read it for yourself. Go ahead and then tell me whether it's a "death book" that advises ailing veterans to commit suicide, as we are being told by Limpdick, Slanthead, and especially Michael Oxymoronic-Black-Republican Steele.


John said...

I am a Vietnam veteran. I make little enough money and own sufficiently little amounts of stuff that the VA handles my healthcare needs. One of the many services of which I availed myself was the creation of a living will. It was simple. If I finish my life hospitalized, I want DNR, palliative drugs, and cremation. If I am fortunate enough to just drop, I want to be cremated.

I find it reprehensible that the Republicans finally turn against veterans. It had to be expected, though.

Farnsworth68 said...

Hi, John. Welcome home, brother.
You're right about it being expected. They've pretty much run the gamut on trying to scare everyone else. Vets are about all they have left.
The Rethug party has always had an attitude of, at best, "neglect" for veterans. At worst, it's been outright hostility. After all, they waged their "patriotic" wars against nations that never attacked us (i.e., Iraq twice, Vietnam after Nixon's inauguration and those little brushfire wars like Grenada and Panama), and all of us disabled veterans are ugly living reminders that war isn't the bloodless great adventure that their enablers in the so-called-liberal-media try to hype it up to be, especially starting with the Gulf War.
--The F Man

John said...


I recall people whose editorials I enjoyed referring to the Reaganites offering Grenada and Panama "actions" as "Special Olympics events for the US armed forced after the defeat in Vietnam."

jae said...

Thanks for posting that link...I just saved the .pdf and sent it out with the following note to everyone in my address book:


Maybe you've heard something about the Veteran's Administration's so-called 'Death Book: Your Life, Your Choices. It is being called a 'Death Book' by some 'news' sites and shows because one interpretation is it encourages Veterans to commit suicide. I don't agree with this interpretation at all.

I have attached a copy of it to this email so you can make your own determination on it but also because it contains what I feel is important information on how to speak with family and friends regarding your personal wishes should a challenging event befall you. It's not a easy subject to think or speak about but if you consider all those who love you and the powerlessness and fear they would experience if you were ever injured or suffered a dramatic damaging event to your health, you may decide that it is best for them to know what you want them to do.

The book contains instructions on how you can do what is necessary to give them (and yourself) some peace of mind in what would be disastrous circumstances.

Farnsworth68 said...

Thanks, jae.
That's one of the tragedies of the GOP strategy of fear. People in this country are so uncomfortable talking about death -- especially their own -- that it makes an easy entry point for fear manipulation.
Good on you for the education you are giving to your friends and family.
--The F-Man