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Alan Grayson, a former U.S. representative for Florida’s 8th Congressional District, is not afraid to speak his mind; in describing the Republican Party’s plan for health care, he explained it thusly:
“It really is quite simple; just don’t get sick. However, if you do get sick, die quickly!”
Grayson’s remark has since earned him a cult following on YouTube, while also standing as an enduring example of his forthright demeanor. Although said demeanor has earned him both praise and criticism in political circles, his frank analysis of the political landscape proved a worthwhile panacea to the audience members at the South County Civic Center in Delray Beach, Flo., who were sick of the current American political climate.
Grayson, who was the keynote speaker at the Center for the event titled “Alan Grayson: A Congressman with Guts,” addressed the audience from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on December 7, 2011.
He used his time at the podium to delight those present with pertinent political news and statistics while also sprinkling in some humor for good measure; that humor immediately started when he acknowledged that not everyone present shared his point of view.
“Greetings angry protestors,” Grayson remarked, bringing cheers and laughter from the audience, “let me see the tea bags hanging from your skulls.”
Grayson also made light of his many television appearance, recalling that when someone remarked that he looked taller on television than in real life, he said that was the case because in real life, he tends to stand up.
Grayson’s humorous barbs sharpened, however, when it came time to discussing the state of the Republican presidential race.
“I realize that one of the Republicans running will have to win the nomination,” Grayson said, “but to me, they all seem like losers.”
He then went on to give his own personal opinions on a few of the candidates.
“When I look at Rick Perry, I think that man would make the ideal president…of the Confederacy,” Grayson remarked to laughter from the audience.
“Regarding Michelle Bachmann, I know her rather well, as we sat next to each other in the Financial Services Committee in Congress,”
“We have an agreement: as long as she doesn’t tell lies about me, I won’t tell the truth about her.”
He was kinder to Ron Paul, but noted that his words of praise were the precise reason why he would never see the Republican nomination. When it came time for him to express his opinions on Newt Gingrich, currently the Republican frontrunner for the nomination, he was far less judicious.
“Considering the way that he treated his previous wives, I’m afraid that if we elect him president, he will find a way to cheat on the country,” he said, “maybe he would find a way to be Prime Minister of India on the side while being president of the U.S.”
When it came time for him to scrutinize Herman Cain, he said some pizza jokes, but used his last name to explain the GOP’s current political philosophy.
“When God asked Cain if he killed Abel, he wondered if he was his brother’s keeper,” Grayson said. He then noted that the GOP has tended to not regard others equally, much as Cain did at that moment.
“I think that is one of the fundamental differences between the parties,” Grayson added.
After dissecting the Republican presidential field, Grayson turned introspective for a moment, noting that he often acted based on his observations rather than mere ideology, a fact directly at odds with individuals dismissing him as a “hyper-partisan.”
He then continued by discussing other items such as how achieved his YouTube following was along with his appearances on the Bill Maher show. Grayson was also quick to let audience members know the importance of looking out for your fellow man, regardless of the rough situations that they may face.
“Empathy is something that Republicans deny and Democrats cherish,” he said.
Grayson closed the proceedings by encouraging the audience to sign petitions that would allow him the opportunity to run again for Congress. He then took questions and comments from the audience; some of the mentions given by the audience included praise for Canada’s health system, the name of the person who defeated Grayson in his last Congressional election and concern over the term limits for elected officials.
Florence Fidell, who represents the United Federation of Teachers, was delighted at the opportunity to hear Alan Grayson speak.
“I love how he explained issues in a relaxed, informal manner, and was respectful when stating his positions,” she said.
“It did not hurt that he was funny as well.”
Fidell appreciated how Grayson took the time to explain President Obama’s position on Israel, a fact that she feels does not receive enough attention in the media.
Stephanie Rosendorf and Garett Krivicich, a pair of FAU students, also appreciated Grayson’s political stances and approach.
“I can’t think of a single person in Congress that I agree with more,” Stephanie said confidently.
Krivicich agreed with Stephanie’s sentiments, even though he did express concern that his outspoken style could be his undoing.
“I worry about him in elections, as he is almost too outspoken and likely to say the wrong thing,” he said.
“However, I do like that he supports the president, and how he said that Republicans are not for the people right now.”