Health care protest draws more than 300

TUPELO – Protesters made their dislike of President Obama’s proposed health care reform very public and very loud Saturday in downtown Tupelo.
More than 300 sign-wielding protesters rallied in front of U.S. Rep. Travis Childers’ office in Fairpark.
Protest organizer Grant Sowell said the noontime event was held to give people the chance to publicly exercise their First Amendment right to free speech.
“These are people who have an opinion and who want to come out and voice their opinions,” said Sowell, who also organized the “tea party” rallies in Tupelo earlier this year. “Most everyone out here knows there are some flaws in the current health care system that need to be fixed. But we don’t feel things are being handled the right way with this bill.”
Childers, a Democrat, was not at his office. He said earlier this month that while he supports changes to the health care system, he would not vote for the legislation that has emerged from the House Energy & Commerce Committee, partly because of its cost.
As motorists drove through Fairpark, many of them caught glimpses of signs that read “Just Say No to Obama Care” and “Leave health care alone.”
Mitchell Sanders waved one that read “NObama” and sported a T-shirt with the same phrase. Sanders, a military veteran, was concerned about the reported cost of health care reform.
“Trillions of dollars in debt, are you kidding me?” he said. “I can’t fathom that amount of money being thrown away on anything. The government needs to stay out of health care.”
As the protesters bounced their signs up and down as they walked back and forth, a couple of people in opposition to the protest watched from across the street.
“I see posters with the president painted as a clown and others with him looking like an animal or something,” said Regina Walker, pointing at some of the signs. “This is disrespectful to the president and to Americans. I think everyone should be free to speak, but there’s a way to do it.
“Where were these people when the last president was sinking the country into one of the worst financial conditions since the Great Depression?”
The crowd was peaceful and orderly throughout the rally.

Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@djournal.com

Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal