Friday offered some of the most moving moments of the bus tour!
On our way to our first event, we stopped by the district office of Representative Judy Biggert, a long-time advocate of seniors’ rights and opponent of the Death Tax. After Jim presented her with both our Guardian of Seniors’ Rights Award and our Benjamin Franklin Award, he invited Rep. Biggert onto the bus. When the Congresswoman spotted Shona, she said “You testified before our Committee!” Sometimes the world seems small, indeed.
We then hosted 180 guests at the Chevy Chase Country Club in Wheeling, Illinois. One of our special guests, State Representative Sid Mathais, had sponsored the (unsuccessful) resolution to include Illinois in the legal challenge to Obamacare based upon the Commerce Clause.
David again expressed his support and appreciation for the work 60 Plus does on behalf of seniors all across America. He praised our efforts to educate citizens on government overspending, and pointed out that the government has known for years about the waste, fraud and abuse that has taken place in the Medicare system. David said that the $716 MILLION that is being taken out of our senior citizens’ Medicare coverage is not going to change that; the cuts will go entirely to cutting payments to doctors and providers, which will in turn cause doctor shortages and long wait times for care. He said we need to get government out of the doctor/patient relationship! This was met with a chorus of ‘Amens’ through the room. David also told the crowd about the 159 new bureaucracies in Obamacare, including the IPAB death panels where 15 unelected officials making $160 THOUSAND a year each will be deciding where the medical cuts will be. David did say that there is a lot we can and should do, and that we are lucky to have 60 Plus in our lives to assure that our taxes are spent carefully and prudently.
Shona impressed the group with her story as the face of socialized medicine, because she lived it, breathed it, and most importantly, survived it. She spoke of the vast difference between Canadian and US healthcare. She challenged the crowd to do all they can to help overturn Obamacare, that this is our last stab at this bill.
Matt confided to the crowd that Shona had been the target of attacks this past week - both in Canada and in Wisconsin – and by not just the media. While she was speaking at an event on Friday, a man threatened her, yelling horrible blasphemies and cruel epithets.
The room broke out in spontaneous applause when the George Bush tribute to Jim played. Jim wowed the crowd with his speech as usual. When he spoke of his dedication to the US Constitution, the crowd shouted ‘That’s right’, and ‘Amen’. Jim noted that the seniors we have been meeting have been energized and very informed, and have mentioned at each event that no one had ever asked their opinion before. Everyone we talk with ‘gets it’, and they are eager to get confirmation for their opinions and beliefs.
Another delightful special guest was Dr. Barbara Bellar (MD, JD, former nun, candidate for Illinois State Representative, and YouTube sensation) who repeated her amusing-but-ironic 142 word sentence ending ‘what could possibly go wrong?’ with Obamacare. The crowd went wild. On a more serious note, she said that God should determine how long we live, not President Obama. She also warned that more than any time in American history, our civil and religious liberties are being eroded. She asked for God to bless and help us. Jim presented her with our Honorary Guardian of Seniors’ Rights Award, for which she was deeply grateful.
From there we traveled to the Viking Dance Hall in Gurnee, Illinois. No, there were no huge red-haired barbarians there to dance the polka. Instead, there were about 85 warm, friendly seniors. Dave challenged them to work as a community to defeat Obamacare. Shona shared that she is fulfilling her vow to share her story with every Canadian or American who will listen. Jim’s largest applause and cheers in Gurnee were when he talked about the senior citizen tsunami that swept ashore in 2010 is again surging, and that there will be another one this November. He praised the power that seniors have and will wield in order to protect and protect the nation.
When Rick came back on stage to sing ‘God Bless the USA’ one of the most touching events of our entire tour occurred. In the back of the room, a lovely woman of middle years sat in her wheelchair listening to the song. She had serious disabilities which interfered with her ability to speak and move. That didn’t stop her from joining in the song! She reminded us all of Psalm 98, ”Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.” She raised her voice as loudly as she could, trying to modulate the tone to sound like singing. She also struggled to raise her hands in prayer by the time we got to the last line of the song. Afterwards at the bus, she hugged several of the bus team. Her caregiver was able to interpret her words to tell us how touched she was by our event. We also learned that her brother died in service to our nation, and wanted to sign our bus. With her caregiver’s help, we now have Diane’s signature on our bus. What an honor it is for us to carry her message to Washington!
Another guest, a wheelchair-bound Vietnam veteran, gifted all of us (including one for us to send to Pat Boone) with silver Virgin Mary medallions to bless and protect us on our journey. Who could ever have expected we would have such experiences on our journey across America?