Senator Alexander, Senator Corker, and Representative Duncan missed a show tonight. The Knoxville ACA Townhall. Several hundred people were there to get questions answered, express concerns and hear stories.
Nobody talked bad about them really but I thought the silence was deafening. It was almost like a Voldemort kind of thing. They were those who should not be named. And they really weren’t which made their absence that much louder. Something about literally a community grappling with its anguish and fear and pain and our leaders absent because they were afraid someone would ask them hard questions, or hurt their feelings or actually ask them to commit to something made the whole thing seem more than a little strange. A lot of questions were asked but the biggest one was never answered but just left hanging in the wind. Where are they? What are they scared of? If I can’t count on them to talk to me how can I count on them to stand up for me? It was the loudest silence I have ever heard. It was made that much louder by the state legislators – all Republicans – sitting in the front row that people applauded because they cared enough to come.
I looked for professional agitators but as far as I could tell everyone there was maintaining their amateur status. The scariest people were the ones not there.
This will be a catastrophe for the Knoxville area. The impacts of repeal without adequate replacement are horrifying to even consider. If those that could not be named were hoping this meeting was a chance for some steam to be blown off and soon things would be back to normal again they will be disappointed. No one is going away. And no one in that meeting will be satisfied with anything less than a new normal.
And to those who could not be there. You were more there in your absence than you could have been if you had come.
The times they are a changin.