Saturday, August 17, 2013
Are Town Hall Meetings A Thing of The Past?
Fewer and fewer legislators are holding town hall meetings because they are no longer a place where a representative can have a frank discussion of the issues with their constituents. They have turned into spectacle where special interests go to dominate the meetings.
A representative holding the town hall meetings has to be on top of their game because cell phones,recorders and cameras are recording every word they say;so they put on YouTube minutes after the meeting. The material they record will be edited to produce the sound bite that generates the most hits.
A good example of unintended consequences came to our own Representative Blake Farenthold in Luling recently.I’m sure the last thing he wanted to talk about was President Obama’s birth certificate or his possible impeachment. He was not prepared,so his answer made national news because as I said the media seems to be addicted to right wing crazy.
The extreme left is also very actively hitting their representatives about the recent NSA surveillance programs.Those meetings are far and in between,so they are not widely publicized.
I have never been to a town hall meeting because I keep up with the issues on my own and I would consider any news coming from a town hall meeting as old news. I do think they serve a good purpose for those involved directly with issues our representative will be voting on. For example,this morning I saw a clip of a John McCain town hall meeting. In that clip,John McCain heard a sad story from a woman telling her story of how sequester cuts effectively took away the last bit of help she was receiving. After telling her story; she started crying, telling the crowd that she was not a “taker” because she paid into the system for 30 years. John McCain went over to her,consoled her and repeatedly told that she was not a “taker.”
I would hate for town hall meetings to completely go away but I understand why they are now scarce. They have been taken over by special interest groups but it doesn’t have to be that way because I’ve seen instances where the agitators were shouted down and meeting proceeded as intended.