Town Hall Forums Meet “The Clash”
Where to begin with the recent spate of news on what I long thought was impossible: making politicians’ town hall forums somehow interesting. As with so many things, The Clash said it first and said it best. I guess the following lyrics no longer apply to conservatives, etc. who have decided they are not going to meekly accept a government takeover of our health care system (even more than it already has):
An’ everybody’s doing
Just what they’re told to
An’ nobody wants
To go to jail!
I share the concerns of some that civic discourse is being harmed by the tone of these meetings. However, I think that the people saying this are longing for a day that never was — or, at least, that ended a long time ago. Political town hall forums (THF) have usually been meaningless dog-and-pony shows that accomplished absolutely nothing, and now they are shouting matches that at least accomplish the goal of letting officials know some people are angry out there. I don’t know whether it’s better or worse than before, but let’s get rid of any idea that, pre-2009, some congressman’s THF was a model of debate, wit, and education. (There are some exceptions to that, however. Kurt Odenwald used to have very good THF’s, with an open opportunity to speak to him.)
It is very interesting to see Rep. Lacy Clay largely blame unions for the recent unfortunate events in Mehlville. I have attended events (although not recently) where the SEIU showed up with the intent of disruption. It can be very intimidating. I mean, not to me, because I am a total badass, but, you know, to other people.
(Note: I can’t find the free version of the 2001 Post-Dispatch article about my fight, so I have to link to the Salon article about another one.)