with Senator McCain
Natalia J. Garland
Townhall Meetings are for the old and the young. Anyway, that's
how it seemed to me when I attended a Townhall Meeting conducted by
Senator John McCain (R-Arizona). He came to my little corner of
the world last week and spoke at a local high school. Maybe that
accounts for the number of young people: the meeting was accessible
to them and took place just a couple of hours after school. Even
so, I would not have expected the older and somewhat conservative
McCain to attract teenagers. The great majority of attendees,
however, were senior citizens and the auditorium was packed.
This was my first
Townhall Meeting. After watching such meetings on the T.V. news, I
wanted to see for myself what they were really like. Would people
yell and scream, call the speaker bad names, or carry protest
signs? No, none of the above. Everyone, seniors and teenagers,
were quite cordial and they expressed their heartfelt concern for
the future of America. McCain presented himself as energetic,
well-informed, jovial at times, and compassionate always. I kept
waiting for something to happen--maybe a war protestor dressed in
pink would run down the aisle--but the meeting was peaceful to the
very end. So, my curiosity about Townhall behavior was satisfied.
I felt proud to be a part of the community and honored to see the
focused on the current healthcare plan and its probable negative
impact on the nation's budget, the need to preserve Social Security
and Medicare benefits, the war in Afghanistan, the Ft. Hood
massacre, and support for America's military. Questions from the
attendees tended to focus on healthcare and small businesses, oil
drilling and nuclear power, education, and there were a couple of
stories of personal hardship because of unemployment and inflation.
Upon reflection, I don't remember ever hearing the word
President Obama.* McCain criticized the Democrats a
couple of times, but there was absolutely no Obama-bashing from
Although I had
heard the rumors of tension between McCain and Sarah Palin (or
between McCain's presidential campaign staff and Palin), McCain
himself initiated a positive remark in reference to Sarah Palin.
He did not actually say her name, but everyone knew who he meant.
You just had to fill in the blank. That remark drew one of the
loudest and longest rounds of applause. McCain grinned, and nodded
his head in approval. That satisfied another curiosity of
mine--whether or not McCain really liked Palin.
Now, what do the
old and the young have in common? Perhaps free time? Or perhaps
both groups are the most fearful about their future. The old have
worked hard, and fear losing everything and then living out their
old-old age in destitution. The young have yet to live, and fear
never having anything. Perhaps those between their 20's and
60's are better equipped to make adjustments and carry burdens.
Some of the burdens, however, are going to fall upon those
teenagers as soon as they graduate--regardless of their financial
or emotional capabilities. Perhaps McCain, who suffered and
sacrificed so much, but who lost the last presidential election,
can still light a way forward. Let us have hope and be pro-active.
If you are
interested, I took a few photographs at the meeting. I
certainly do not agree with McCain on everything, but I respect him
as a war hero and public servant. I wonder....what would America
be like right now if he were President? (Written 11/16/09)
[*ADDED NOTE: Today
I remembered that McCain did mention Obama once: McCain read a
quotation from Obama regarding Obama's promise of transparency,
including televising government proceedings on C-SPAN, which has
never happened.] (Written 11/17/09)
Until we meet