A Grand Island, Neb., school administrator, his two sons and a fellow educator got a firsthand civics lesson Monday by joining demonstrators outside the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.
Chris Eberhardt, assistant principal at Grand Island Northwest High School, and his group have been in the city since last week, visiting the typical monuments and tourist spots. They learned about upcoming court cases and decided to become engaged in one in particular: the health care debate.
Eberhardt's son Carter, 20, has a personal interest in the debate, he said. Carter's kidney transplant a few years ago made his access to future health care coverage uncertain. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act includes coverage for pre-existing conditions.
The Eberhardt group went into Monday's fracas undaunted. Carter and his 17-year-old brother, Conner, asked questions of demonstrators on both sides of the issue. News cameras caught Conner talking to a Tea Party demonstrator.
"We were pretty engaged," Chris Eberhardt said. "Conner and Carter are pretty assertive, so they asked a lot of questions."
Also part of the group was Stan Mills, a science teacher at Grand Island Northwest.
Chris Eberhardt estimated the crowd of journalists and demonstrators at about 300.
Activists in favor of the health care law marched in circles and chanted. A band with trumpets and other horns played.
The other side, those hoping the law is struck down, was not as united, Chris Eberhardt said. They were in pockets holding their signs. But their presence will be more unified today, he was told.