Cannon Countians from all walks of life peppered U.S. Senator Bob Corker with tough questions and strong opinions about the issue of health care reform and other subjects during the senator's visit for a town hall-style meeting last Tuesday at the Cannon County Senior Center.
A large turnout filled the room and overflowed the parking lot.
The most discussed topic was health care reform, and the many ideas being expressed about how it should -- and should not -- be done.
Some local residents were also in attendance last week when Congressman Bart Gordon held a town hall meeting and face-to-face interviews with constituents in Murfreesboro the previous day.
Gordon is feeling a little more political heat these days than is Corker for a variety of reasons: his party is in power, he's up for re-election next year and his opponents see him as perhaps being a little more vulnerable.
Yet, like Corker, he conversed with the audience in a calm, cool and caring manner, charming foes as well as friends.
Some health care reform proponents see health care as a right, not a privilege. They view insurance companies, and even health care providers, as greedy, more concerned about making money than caring for people.
Opponents believe people should earn what they receive and don't feel the government has a good track record of running systems competently and fiscally responsibly.
They want care for every American, but they also think that every American should care for themselves if they are able.
At the center of the debate is the subject of the single-payer system. That means there would only be one health care insurance provider, much like Medicare.
At the sideline is the question of rationing. Many seniors and those approaching old age don't like the idea the government might be deciding who lives -- and who doesn't.
Whatever side of the issue you stand on, you have to find it heartening there are so many people ready and willing to go to these town hall meetings and express their views and ask tough questions.
It is this type of involvement in community and country that built this nation into the greatest and strongest in history.
And continued civil discourse and debate will help keep it that way!