We attended last night's town hall meeting with Congresswoman Betty McCollum at Macalester College for two reasons. We wanted to see what the meetings were all about and we also wanted the chance to express our opinions on the "state of the union". The first purpose was satisfied but the second was definitely not - our ticket number was never called out in the random selection process.
Curious to me was the fact that there was more rancor displayed while standing in line than displayed inside as various opinions were expressed. We were surprised by the fact that more people expressed either outright concern, caution, or reprimands in a heavily Democratic-leaning congressional district. All comments - regardless of position - were interesting and thoughtful and their stated opinions were well worth listening to! We are glad we attended.
We felt there were several noteworthy observations:
1. It was obvious that organized efforts came from the Democratic party - they had their perfectly coifed signs saying Thank you and We need Health Care Reform Now. Didn't see any "right wing" organized efforts as so often reported in the various media.
2. Our sign suggesting that the unborn, the elderly needed protections, and term limits for all politicians raised a number of "snotty" & off-based comments from people. One elderly man said he isn't worried about anything - a woman suggested the plump man beside me (who was obviously supporting our sign) "lo0ked like he needed an abortion!" It definitely brought out the worst in people - including myself. I left with less than a positive opinion about many fellow Americans! Mea Culpa.
3. Betty stated her opinion on the medical care bills but failed to explain what Obamacare covers. She stated "no one was trying to ram something through Congress; in fact there wasn't even a bill to consider yet". What was the 1000 page deal then? She also stated we don't need language regarding citizen benefit only because that's the way it is. She also stated that abortions would not be covered because it is like Medicare coverage right now. I am willing to bet that most politicians want to avoid the abortion debate & the citizen issue - they are satisfied in leaving it "temporarily understated" only to be tackled and pushed through another day. I hope my readers know that this is very similiar to the creation of school based clinics - they were never created to deal with sex issues according to the infamous Jocelyn Elders at a Senate hearing I attended years ago! Surprise, surprise - today they hand out contraceptives, do sex counseling, and more without parental notification - it is legal in the state of MN for minors to provide their own consent in areas of drug, alcohol, and sex matters!
When I questioned one woman about the details of the bill, her reply was that's the way of the legislature- details come later! Woe to us if that's the truth! Who of us would write a contract with the details later after securing the $ and the signatures!
Betty suggested that insurance companies were crooks - she didn't read the paper which stated that they are lobbying blue-dog Democrats hard, giving them money more than any other group for their war chests and the blue-dogs are accepting this money from these so-called crooks. Doesn't that make them a "crook" also? Is this calling the kettle black?
There were many more contradictory statements which leaves me wondering why? I left knowing nothing more!I still don't know what the heck this debate is really all about - is it economics, health care, insurance companies, medical care? Facts are few, emotions run high. Sales people know that they need a straight, clear message when selling a product - it's called the elevator talk. Politicians need this as well. One man summarized it well last night: while Corporations make money they can't take your home, your property, your money, only the Government can do that! Let's make sure the government takes from us what we want them to and doesn't take what we don't want them to!
On a brighter note- go see Julie and Julia; it's a great movie!