On Saturday morning, Vice President Mike Pence and Governor Matt Bevin came to Louisville to speak about the republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare with a new healthcare plan.
A large group of protesters showed up to voice their opinions and to protest Pence and Bevin.
These two groups came together to form a nonviolent protest to not only educate people on what the Republican bill to end the Affordable Care Act means, but to voice their opinions and concerns for why it should not be replaced.
A few hundred people showed up to the protest. For some however, it took much longer than necessary to arrive due to the blockage of public interstates by the police force.
“It took me over an hour to get here, I am furious because the public roads that we pay taxes for in Kentucky were blocked off. Quote from the state trooper: ‘Whenever the Vice President is in town, we block the public highways.’ This is an infringement on my right to protest as an American citizen. Mainly I am here because our democracy is being hijacked and I am going to go down fighting for it,” Katrina Cummings, a protester, said.
Many of the protesters showed up with the intentions to send a message to both Pence and Bevin.
“I am here to send Vice President Pence a message that we don’t want the republicans to repeal the ACA [Affordable Care Act]. I think it is very important for all of us to show up to show all the republicans here and in D.C that we don’t want the ACA repealed,” protester Holly Wallace said.
Throughout the three and a half hour protest the Save My Care Bus Tour provided a multitude of speakers to give speeches about the issue of healthcare.
One of the keynote speakers for the day was State Representative Mary Lou Marzian. She came out to remind people the importance of voting and to continue to voice their opinions and let people know how they feel and what they want out of politics.
“I think it is so important that we the people show the government what they are doing is wrong and we need to protest. What’s happening in Kentucky is that we are turning the clocks back to 1950 and that’s wrong and evil. We have to be progressive and embrace everyone in this country and that’s why I think it is important for us to be here,” State Rep. Marzian said.
While some people voiced their individual opinions through speeches, posters, or chants, some took a bit of a different approach. Several people at the protest decided to hold the American flag upside down.
“So that’s [holding the flag upside down] an international symbol of distress. This signals SOS. I am signaling this because we are looking at a big erosion of freedom, specifically today we are most concerned about all the folks who are on the verge of losing their healthcare, but it runs a lot deeper than that,” said Sellus Wilder, a protester.
People of all ages showed up and showed out to let the politicians know how they felt. Manual Class of 2016 graduates Danielle Graves and Kylie Milliken were at the protest.
“I came out here today because I am really concerned about repeal and replace ACA because I feel it does not represent the needs of the poor, the sick and the elderly who I think we should be protecting as a society,” Graves said.
“I think it is ridiculous that they are trying to sneak in the defunding Planned Parenthood into the repeal and replace ACA because Planned Parenthood does so much more than just abortions and they provide healthcare for anyone who is poor and can’t afford it, and I just think it is ridiculous they are trying to take this away,” Milliken said.
At the protest several Trump/Pence supporters showed up to voice their beliefs as well.
This caused tensions between people to run high; however there were a multitude of peacekeepers and police officers at the protest to protect citizens and keep things from escalating between groups.
“I believe that our society will not survive without renewable energy, without equal justice for all people, without Americans caring for non Americans, without white people caring for non white people, without human beings caring for non human life and that’s what we stand for and that’s the new world,” said Sam Avery, a peacekeeper and organizer of the event.
The presence of these two very differently opinionated groups prompted for interesting conversations and interactions.
The public was not allowed to enter the area in which Pence and Bevin were to speak in. During their speeches, Papa John’s Pizza sent a dozen or so of their box trucks to park in front of the building they were speaking in to block out protesters from seeing Bevin and Pence. Once they were done speaking, and after a 30 minute stalling, Pence and Bevin loaded in their motorcade and left. However, unlike the traditional motorcade exit, Bevin and Pence had firetrucks drive on the protesters’ side of the road at the same time they were exiting, once again in order to block the protesters from seeing the politicians.