Personal Liberty Poll
A Texas Republican representative is the latest to say she isn’t going to hold meetings with constituents because the current national atmosphere makes it too dangerous for her to be in public in her home district.
Rep. Kay Granger, chairman of the extremely powerful House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, said she’s refusing to hold town hall meetings with voters this summer because of a series of recent threats made against members of Congress. The threats, combined with fears following the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) during a congressional baseball practice earlier this summer, evidently make it too scary for the peoples’ representatives to interact with Americans outside of Washington DC’s marbled halls.
“I wish we could have a town hall meeting and engage with others,” said Granger. “There are so many threats going on.”
That is a crock of shit.
Imagine the reaction if other public employees lamented dangers before imparting that they will no longer perform a key function of the job they were hired to perform.
A fireman, for example, who no longer wishes to fight fires because of the risk of being injured. A police officer who will no longer respond to calls because he might face a belligerent suspect. A postal worker (I know it’s a cliche) who won’t deliver mail because of dogs.
Sure, elected officials are in the spotlight and likely receive a greater number of threats than the average person. But despite the threats and the attack on Scalise and other Republicans, they are statistically no more likely to be injured or killed by a madman than anyone else.
Still, they’re declaring themselves an endangered class.
House Speaker Paul Ryan announced this month that he also plans to eschew town halls because he doesn’t want to be disrupted by protesters who may show up.
“Aside from the obvious security concerns, what we have found is there are people who are trying to come in from out of the district to disrupt town hall meetings and not have a civil discussion, so what I have been doing is looking for new and creative ways to interact with my constituents in a civil way,” Ryan told a Wisconsin Boy Scouts group earlier this month.
“That’s why I have done a number of telephone town hall meetings, which I find very effective as people don’t have to travel. I do office hours. I just did them this morning in Janesville. In addition, I am doing a lot of business ones,” he added.
Blaming threats and outside protesters for decisions to avoid town hall encounters with constituents might be valid if GOP leaders were actually doing their jobs in Washington.
But they aren’t.
They’re working to force through legislation that amounts to an Obamacare redux instead of repealing the healthcare legislation as promised. And they’re claiming they simply can’t muster the support for a repeal despite having done so numerous times when it had no chance of making past the president’s pen under the Obama administration.
We’ll see several other disappointments under total GOP control in Washington ahead of the 2018 midterms. They’ll fail to deliver substantially on taxes. The nation’s debt will continue to spiral out of control. Wasteful spending will continue. And so on.
There’s no doubt these lawmakers don’t want to have conversations about their failure to deliver and lack of any real plan to turn the tide in Washington in rooms full of people and press. A controlled meeting that can’t get out of hand is a far better option.
But for for voters, this is unacceptable. As lawmakers prepare for recess, now would be a good time to phone members of Congress as well as local party organizations to demand face-to-face voter events at home. Those who refuse ought to face opposition in coming elections and be asked to resign immediately.
Remember, these people work for you.