When the Change That Works campaign in Tennessee got wind of an anti-healthcare Tea Party in front of Rep. Bart Gordon's office, the group and its coalition partners put together a counter-demonstration in less than 24 hours notice and turned a Tea Party into a Healthcare Party!
A mere seven anti-reform "Teabaggers" were overwhelmed as over 60 health care reform supporters converged on the square in downtown Murfreesboro to urge Bart Gordon to support H.R. 3200, America's Affordable Health Choices Act.
"They didn't know what hit them," said Tony Cani, the state director of Change That Works. "Rutherford County is ground zero for conservative politics in Tennessee and we went right into their house and took over their event. I think a couple messages were sent today at this rally. First, the Teabaggers and the other enemies of change are not going to keep going unchallenged in Tennessee. Second, Bart Gordon needs to do the right thing and vote for health care reform because it isn't only conservatives who are watching his vote on H.R. 3200."
Check out the video and see how the Teabaggers got soaked!
And even though a Democrat represents TN-06, it is still considered a conservative district. Rutherford County in particular, where the rally happened, is now considered a Republican stronghold. So if progressives can mount this kind of response in less than 24 hours in the heart of the "Red South", you can too!
In even better news, Rep. Gordon voted last Friday against a Republican amendment to H.R. 3200 in his committee that would have placed restrictions on abortion services that would help save the lives of women who are in mortal danger during delivery. And while we can never know the exact motivation for Gordon, we do know that he took a very politically risky vote on Friday right after he saw the willingness of progressives and pro-healthcare advocates to "get his back" at the Tea Party.
This is how political action works. We can't just demand that representatives in tough districts stick their necks out without us being willing to go the extra mile and protect them. Thanks to Gordon for his courageous vote and thanks to all the people with Change That Works that came out and made it safe for him to cast that vote.