Betty McCollum joined a panel of health care experts at Gloria Dei, ELCA, in Saint Paul, MN Sunday night. While the discussion about health care and God ensued inside, a small group of protesters gathered outside.
Last week, Rep. McCollum was scheduled to debate her opponent, Teresa Collett live on local television. McCollum backed out just a few days before.
Instead, she made time for a town hall at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, attended by about 60 people, where Pastor Lois Pallmeyer opened up with prayer for health care reform.
McCollum praised the “faith community” for their activism saying, “I wish there was a public option in this bill. We need a single payer system. We need your prayers to keep health care reform moving in the right direction.”
McCollum did not allow video recording of the event and appeared uneasy when somebody in a chicken suit came to the door. The protester was quickly escorted away.
The panel framed health care reform as a matter of responsibility. “We all are responsible to contribute to the collective so that everybody has health insurance, so that those who are able to pay can help those who cannot.” The panelists argued that health care is a right, not a privilege, perpetuating a divisive dichotomy around a very complicated and difficult issue.
McCollum bemoaned that there is no dialogue about the bill because of bitter partisanship. Still, only one side was discussed and many questions from the audience were screened out.
While denying “death panels” in the bill, McCollum spoke about requiring health care directives and end of life plans so that people can “die with dignity.” She spoke of her own decision to let her mother die.
The evening was rife with similar contradictions. The low turnout suggests that angry citizens are tuning McCollum out. Her refusal to debate Collett on live television before a larger audience is admittedly a political calculation on her part, albeit a risky one in this political climate. McCollum has a reputation for becoming tongue-tied.
After the event, one man asked the pastor if she would be willing to hold a dialogue between McCollum and Collett. Pallmeyer said, “No. McCollum is our Representative.”
Outside, cars honked at the dancing chicken holding a sign that urges McCollum to put her committment to "dialogue" into action:
“Chicken Betty- Debate”
When asked, the protesters admitted that the Collett campaign was not aware of their activity.
Keep up the work constituents of MNCD4; every bit helps. From letters to the editor, tweets, facebook, blogs, Collett yard signs, telling your neighbors etc...spread the word on what Betty hasn't done for MNCD4, and if you are new to this blog, read how Betty denies God in Congress, supports Hamas and is anti-Israel. Or just ask yourself, with the recent revelation of voter fraud in St. Paul, why would Betty McCollum deny voter fraud is a problem, and what has Betty done for MNCD4?