Thursday, February 23, 2017

And this is why you do it

Was the crowd at Bill Cassidy's townhall "uncivil"? Yep.  Were they there to "vent" rather than to "listen"? You bet.  Were they being unfair to Cassidy?  Not really.  It's his job to listen to this stuff.  Grace makes a point of commending him for doing this. And that's fine. But it is the minimum requirement.
Yes, he tried to limit questions at the town hall to those submitted in writing, but when the crowd forced his hand, he heard people out and tackled some controversial topics. The room was way too small, but he didn't pack it with supporters; outside his own staff, he didn't seem to have a friend in the place. He did not accuse the attendees of being paid protesters; afterwards, he readily acknowledged they were citizens expressing their First Amendment rights.
What she gets wrong, though, is her suggestion that interactions like this are "unproductive."  As evidence, we present, the entire history of all political agitation.  The purpose here is to make yourself heard and to keep the pressure on.  Of course it isn't realistic to think that Bill Cassidy is going to adopt all of your positions because you yelled at him. But if you've made it even the slightest bit more difficult for him to ignore you, then you've moved the meter a bit.

The fact that Cassidy at least goes through the motions of listening is all the more reason to show up at his events.  An even better idea would be to protest and disrupt Democratic townhalls. But since we don't have a Democratic Senator right now, well, here we are. It's not much but it's what we have at this point.  The alternative is silence.

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