Retired Teacher Pens Powerful Response To Congressman’s Cringe-Worthy Remark

"Didn't we learn this in fifth-grade social studies?"

Another day, another electric town hall to discuss, only this time there's no tense confrontation or viral clip.

At an Iowa town hall meeting earlier this month with Representative Rod Blum, the politician took plenty of heat for voting in support of the AHCA on May 4. In an attempt to detail what he'd like to change about the Affordable Care Act, the congressman explained, "Get rid of some of these crazy regulations that Obamacare puts in… such as a 62-year-old male having to have pregnancy insurance."

According to The Washington Post, Blum's response was met with boos from the crowd. Among those who disagreed with his ill-conceived statement was retired special education teacher Barbara Rank, though she didn't get up from her seat or ask a follow-up question of her representative.

Instead, she thought about Blum's flippant remark and responded to it via a 96-word letter to her local Iowa paper, the Telegraph Herald. In her pragmatic response, which you can see below, Rank notes paying for things you might not appreciate or use is part of what makes a democracy work.



The Dubuque, Iowa resident was slow to learn her retort to Blum went viral, telling The Post, "It makes me laugh. It's such a silly little piece." Still, this "silly piece" has resonated with thousands.

Rank says the inspiration for her powerful missive came to her courtesy of one of her daily four-mile walks to get coffee, as a portion of the trek parallels the Mississippi River and the public bridges that span it into other states. "Then I thought about the sidewalk," she said. "There's a neighboring town where two months ago a big issue was people didn't want to pay for sidewalks."

She'd also heard of another town that had issues funding its library, and recalled the flowers she sees on a different portion of her walk once she hits Grandview Avenue.

Still, the 63-year-old doesn't see anything particularly revolutionary or inspiring in what she wrote, asking The Washington Post: "Didn't we learn this in fifth-grade social studies?"  

The crowd at a town hall with congressman Rod Blum in Dubuque, Iowa on May 8, 2017. Twitter

Nevertheless, her articulate response will now go down as one of many that have recently gone viral thanks to its simple but poignant nature. Last month, a seventh grader schooled an older man who didn't grasp the purpose or need for those "Hate Has No Home Here" signs telling him, in part, "Those people who have chosen to place a 'Hate Has No Home Here' sign on their law are standing behind their belief that the country should be free of hate… if you are going to say signs exhibit 'snowflake sensitivity,' take a moment to think about how you are writing an angry letter to a newspaper about a lawn sign."

The month before that, a woman with multiple sclerosis strongly demanded answers from her congressman after he repeatedly skirted her question about the GOP's solution to Obamacare (specifically as it relates to pre-existing conditions) in a town hall meeting much like the one Rank attended in Iowa.

A spokesman for Blum tells The Washington Post his remarks about maternity insurance were taken out of context. "He was referring to the idea of patients being able to choose health insurance policies that fit their needs, rather than one size fits all policies filled with government mandates," the spokesman explained. "Obviously he understands that taxes pay for things that not everybody uses."

Cover image via Shutterstock / BePhumirat.


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