23 Hours for Health Care

I do some crazy things for “The Resistance”, the loosely organized individuasl and organizations that have sprung up to oppose Trump and his agenda.  I have marched, rallied and attended council meetings.  But yesterday, September 25th, was a test of my commitment.

It began at 2:00A.M with my alarm waking me up; a quick snack-sized breakfast, getting dressed and even doing my dishes followed.  From there I was off to a fellow activists house for us to stage for our destination, Washington DC for the Senate Finance Committee Hearing on the health care repeal.  We drove through the night and into the dawn, stopping at a drive-thru for what was for me a 2nd breakfast.  Along the way, it was announced that the driver planned to get arrested.  That would affect my plans later.

We arrived in DC around 6:30, and by 7AM we were at the building.  We got in with no incident, and lunch and water were already handed out.  From around 8AM until the hearing began at 2PM we waited, not to get in, but to disrupt.  “Walking the line”, doing Facebook live feeds of the size of the line, became a common way for folks to get exercise and show the literal depth of the crowd.  Much of the crowd were from the group ADAPT , a direct action group of Americans with disabilities.  I was impressed by the energy and conviction these citizens brought to the event:

Lives In The Line

A post shared by James D'Angelo (@james.l.dangelo) on

Another take-away was the way the Senators entered.  The Democrats we saw came in and walked our lines with heads held high, and received a rock stars welcome; Senators Brown(OH), Bennett(CO), Casey(PA) and Coons(DE) all were seen from where I stood.  Besides Senator Graham(SC), who arrogantly smirked at us, most of the Republicans walked in with heads low, or waited for the Capitol Police to arrive.

The Hearing began, and with ADAPT leading the chants, was soon recessed.  I am not sure if the hearing actually even took place, as under threat of arrest, I and a fellow activist exited the building.  Our driver did indeed get arrested, so now we had to figure out when she was getting out, and what to do about me.

We might a delightful woman, who led us to a Texas-style BBQ place where to made our plans over beers and in my case, dinner.  A decision was made to put me on a train, that would get me to Harrisburg around 1A.M on the 26th.

The woman was nice enough to drive me to the station, after a walk to her car, and I boarded a train first to Philadelphia, and then to Harrisburg.  Thanks to some careful co-ordination on my part, and some negotiations between two activists in Harrisburg, I found I had a ride back to where this had all started, and around 1:15A.M, was back home.

On the train, I found that it looks like it was all time well-spent.  It looks like the latest attempt to repeal the ACA, is again DOA.  But there will be other battles; DACA, and perhaps even Medicare for All.  I may volunteer to drive for whatever the next one is.

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