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The Minnesota Daily

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“The Watchers” is a film adaptation of the 2022 book of the same name by A.M. Shine.
Review: “The Watchers”
Published June 13, 2024

Supporting Betty McCollum

Minnesota congresswoman McCollum is a brave voice on Capitol Hill.

Betty McCollum has been under tremendous scrutiny ever since she voted against a bill on the principle of representing the values of the constituents she serves instead of caving to the interests of a powerful lobby.

Democratic Rep. McCollum was one of two dissenters against the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 (HR4481), a document drafted with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s help, aimed at limiting and denying diplomatic efforts by the Palestinian Authority, as well as undermining human rights efforts in the region. The bill, deemed unnecessary and damaging by many, even was rejected by the State Department.

Immediately after voting against the bill, McCollum was labeled as a terrorist supporter by American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a lofty accusation with tremendous stigma. After this smear, McCollum demanded an apology, adding the committee’s representatives are not welcome in her office without a formal apology.

The committee has a strong grip on Congress; A Capitol Hill staff member noted the committee can rely on more than half the House to cater to its interests. But while many are quick to blame the lobby for its influence, what gets ignored is the role of politicians in chasing the money when they ought to be representing their constituents. McCollum should not be punished for doing her job as an elected official.

When politicians practice self-censorship because they fear lobby groups, lobbying becomes more than pushing for a cause – it becomes the backbone of policymaking. Like any other lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has the right to make noise. The burden is on the elected official to decide when it’s just to follow the agenda of lobby groups. Too often politicians overlook principle and vote on party and lobby platforms.

Despite monetary gains, politicians should not be coerced into voting a certain way or practicing self-censorship. In the midst of all the sketchiness that takes place in Washington, when a politician acts on principle over financial incentives they should be praised for their noble act. Kudos to Betty McCollum.

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