I don't think these "Town Hall meetings" that are so popular these days in U.S. politics are working as well as we had hoped.
The whole idea, I thought, was to provide a forum for people of all political affiliations to gather, share thoughts and ideas on various subjects, and most importantly, for people to LISTEN to each other.
Someone once told me, "If your talking, your not learning."
At a recent Town Hall Meeting held here recently in Congressional District 16 of Pennsylvania, Republican Congressman Joseph Pitts hosted a chat concerning the hot topic of Health Care. It went really well, until someone stood up and voiced an opinion that differed from those of Pitts and his loyal followers.
The idea of these things as I see it is to have a bi-partisan exchange of ideas. First you talk, and then I talk, and we all listen. The rules were different at the Pitts party.
My friend Jane, who lives in district 16, attended this meeting of the minds because she is an concerned citizen who looks forward to participating in a civilized exchange of ideas.
She is an experienced debater, because any gathering at her house usually turns into what can be called a mini-Town Hall Meeting. Dinner time at her house is usually a setting for a debate of somekind or another.
The Town hall Meeting Jane attended recently played by a different set of rules.
Mr Pitts, who is serving his 7th term, stood by and watched, saying nothing, as Jane was verbally attacked by the people who didn't agree with her particular views. It was a perfect opportunity for Mr Congressman to stand up and interrupt the rowdy crowd and explain to them that this was a forum for every point of view.
Jane was shocked that people were shouting while she was speaking, and even more shocked when Congressman Pitts stood there, and said nothing.
Let me make one thing clear. Jane is a real sweetheart, just the nicest person. She has opinions on subjects and she states her case calmly and with respect to whoever might have opinions that differ. She listens to all sides of the debate. She felt the actions of some attendees of the Town Hall meeting was uncalled for, and the non-action of Mr Pitts unexceptable.
At the end of the night, Jane approached Mr Pitts and let him know of her disappointment in how he handled the situation. She calmly added, that she would do everything in her power to have him defeated in the next election. Oh boy! Are you familiar with the phrase..."Waking a sleeping giant?" I'm afraid that's what Mr Pitts did the other night.
As sweet as Jane is, I would not want to pick a fight with her.
Picture a lovable cat sitting in the corner. Harmless enough, right? If you treat the cat with respect it will love you, but if you approach the cat while it's eating, and it turns into a hissing, scratching fur ball.
Watch out Mr. Congressman.
I'd like to support my friend Jane by telling interested citizens of PA to vote for Lois Herr.
Joe Pitts has been a consistent opponent of our president and Lois is looking to change that.
Vote for Lois Herr to be the next Congresswoman in 2010 representing the 16th district of Pennsylvania.