Saturday, March 18, 2017

Democratic Congressman Steve Israel Explains to His Republican Colleagues What a Real Town Hall Managed Meeting is Like

Grow a Pair, Republicans

One thing that is constant is that whenever things go against them, Republicans can be counted on to whine and complain rather than confront with facts and data.  Of course that is because almost all of the time the facts and data are biased against them, or  their positions are in contrary to facts and data.

Anyway, Democrats had been the object of organized, rude, disruptive town halls in the Obama years, and one member of congress, Steve Israel, writes about it.

First of all, many attendees at Mr. Israel's town hall meetings were not his constituents.

Then it began: an avalanche of calls demanding to know when and where I’d conduct a town hall. Some of the voices had decidedly Southern accents (and I don’t mean the South Shore of Long Island). My interns usually took callers’ names and addresses, but strangely, many of the people who said they needed to attend a town hall didn’t want to leave a phone number so we could tell them when and where they could satisfy that urge.

And they were not polite or even rational.

Perhaps the lowest point of the town hall was when one member of my staff was taunted as being a socialist. She happens to be an Army veteran who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. We had arranged for the League of Women Voters to moderate the meeting so I couldn’t be accused of selecting favorable questions. That worked out fine until someone in the audience accused the League of Women Voters of being socialists, too.

And they were orchestrated by national groups.

Later I saw a memo by the Tea Party Patriots giving instructions to crowds like this across the nation. It was essentially a manual for what their strategy should be at a town-hall meeting: Scream loudly, be disruptive and make clear that a significant portion of the audience does not support the agenda.

But Mr. Israel reacted correctly.

The night of my town hall, I knew the crowd was effectively stage-managed and that many people there didn’t live in my district. But I didn’t make an issue of that, as President Trump does now. It was my obligation — my job — to listen to disagreement. The people there were Americans expressing their anger and anxiety; exercising a constitutional principle to petition their grievances to government. It wasn’t a pleasant night, but it was a patriotic one.

Republicans though run and hide.  It's in their nature, it comes natural to bullies. But if you cannot stand the heat, get out of the Congress.

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