A (Nonviolent) Gun-Toting Witness for Health Care Reform

By Rose Marie Berger 8-21-2009

I'm Ready to Water the Tree of Liberty with Healthcare Reform Now.

"I'm Ready to Water the Tree of Liberty with Health-care Reform Now."

I decided to take a comic approach to the pro-health-care reform rally held yesterday on Capitol Hill. Since my brothers across the nation (as exemplified by Mr. New Hampshire above) were sporting their hardware at the health-care reform town hall meetings, I thought I'd do the same.

At Target I found a "Rocket Blaster" for $4.99. It comes with one foam blaster and four foam rockets. I cut a hole in the top and filled it with water and daisies. I strapped the whole thing on my thigh with black duct tape as my holster and took my stand for liberty at the health-care rally outside the Democratic National Committee building. President Obama gave a speech there at 3 p.m. yesterday. My little sign read: "I'm ready to water the Tree of Liberty with Health-care Reform Now!" (You can see more photos here.)

There were about 500 pro-health-care reform supporters out on the street. I didn't see any anti-health-care reform people.

My "revealed" weapon did draw the attention of the U.S. Capitol police. The officer called over his sergeant to identify my gun. I volunteered to them that it was a foam water gun and invited them to check it. They said they'd have someone come over and examine it. (See photos here.)

A few minutes later a Secret Service agent came to check it out. He asked me to take it out of the holster.

He said, "It's just a water gun with daisies in it, ma'am?"

I answered, "Yes, sir."

He replied, "Well, I'd rather see one of those than the other kind. "

"I know you would," I said. "So would I."

He smiled and waved me on.

I also had a video interview with Voice of America. My talking points were as follows:

I'm taking a comic approach to a very serious issue. This country needs health-care reform now. It must have 1) a public option, 2) it must provide accessible and affordable insurance for everyone who is uninsured or under-insured, and 3) it should contain clear "conscience clauses" around the issues that are morally sensitive. We need health-care reform now.

For a good article on the use of language in the health-care debate, see the article posted by George Lakoff: The Policy-Speak Disaster.

Rose Marie Berger, an associate editor at Sojourners, blogs at www.rosemarieberger.com.

To learn more about health-care reform, click here to visit Sojourners' Health-Care Resources Web page.

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