I went to a town hall meeting yesterday – Rep Mark Kirk, a moderate republican in the northshore chicago area.
For me the conclusion was somewhat disappointing. Lots of folks, boisterous and vocal but not unruly, there to talk and listen. I drove away with the following thoughts:
Not many folks there were “unreasonable” even though there was little agreement on anything.
Most folks there had lots on their minds, and the health care debate seems to be giving them an opportunity to express themselves. There is lots of fear – mostly about our future standard of living.
Lots of folks on both sides are really unhappy with government. Future liabilities, debt, gov't spending were mentioned far more frequently than health care.
I did not see a likelihood of consensus on healthcare reform because the political leadership showed little interest in building one. Even the moderates seemed more interested in fanning the flames and exploiting the fears for partisan advantage.
My strongest feeling is that there is enough common ground to build a consensus, but not while politicians are involved.