The right way to debate healthcare reform

Al Franken talks with some angry constituents about reform, and no one loses a finger

Published September 4, 2009 8:10PM (EDT)

If you have 10 minutes on the eve of the three-day weekend, you really should take the time to watch the video below. It shows Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., talking with a group of his constituents who oppose the Democratic healthcare reform plans. According to the YouTuber who posted the video, the people speaking with Franken were tea party activists who "staked out" Franken's booth at what looks like the state fair "and confronted him loudly when he arrived." (Hat-tip to Ana Marie Cox.)

What ended up happening, though, was a civil, reasoned discussion about the current healthcare situation in the U.S., not to mention actual debate about the relative policy merits of the Democratic proposals.

There is one scary part, though, or at least it was scary for me: As I was watching this video, sort of mesmerized by it and thinking it was rather amazing, I realized -- the reason I think that is because of the contrast with all the screaming and irrationality normally involved in these discussions.

It's been a long summer.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Al Franken D-minn. Healthcare Reform Town Hall Protests