Town hall meetings are all over the news lately. These town hall meetings, particularly ones involving Republican members of Congress, are drawing enormous crowds and show the discord in the current political environment. Members of Congress have been forced to answer tough questions. As more and more Americans are becoming unsettled with the current political direction of the country, they are turning to their congressmen and congresswomen to have their voices heard.
Republicans aren’t liking it one bit. Some are cancelling events. Some are hiding from constituents. Many get defensive when confronted with questions they don’t want to answer. They aren’t used to this. They are used to the town halls being filled with like-minded individuals. Until now, these events have been more of a chance to answer a few questions, get a pat on the back, and head back to Washington secure in the fact that their base is happy and their congressional seat is safe. Not anymore.
These tumultuous town halls have occurred all over the country. They’ve even made it to my district, the First District of Georgia. Yesterday in a town hall in Savannah, our Republican representative, Buddy Carter, was met with an overflow crowd. A lot of them weren’t happy. The quizzed him about healthcare and immigration. They asked him about Trump. They held his feet to the fire. They did their job. They demanded representation in Washington.
Today, Carter is holding a town hall in Waycross. One thing that instantly struck me about the town hall was the time. It’s at 2:30 on a Wednesday afternoon. Congress is in recess this week. Their schedules should be pretty open to meeting with constituents. However, Carter is holding town halls in the middle of the afternoon. This time slot ensures that only retired white people can come. That’s not an accident. Carter seems to demand that the constituents who are available to attend are those who aren’t working class and aren’t minority voters. He wants only his base there so he can get a pat on the back and go about his business.
Fortunately, I was able to attend the town hall. I was more than pleased to see that more than his targeted demographic attended. Questions were over a wide variety of topics. There were they typical questions about Social Security and Medicare. There were a few local issued scattered here and there but nothing of any magnitude.
There were, not surprisingly, a lot of questions about Russia. If Rep. Carter is true to his word, he is willing to hold the Trump Administration’s feet to the fire regarding sanctions and possible contacts between the campaign and Russian intelligence. My guess is that was all a lot of hot air from a politician who wanted to seem in charge.
Near the end of the questions, he got the LGBT question. A young woman told Carter about her wife and asked how he could support the alleged religious freedom bills that thus make her and the rest of the LGBT community second-class citizens. Carter, of course, said he didn’t consider her to be a second-class citizen. However, he did say that he would support a restaurant not serving her if the restaurant owner had “sincerely held religious beliefs.” He was very blunt. I knew he was no friend to the LGBT community and I’m glad he was so forthright with his response. He, like many on the right, sees an imaginary war on Christianity in America. Of course, this war doesn’t exist. They use it as a legitimization for their hate and fear. It’s sickening.
Town halls are a good thing to go to if you can. Sometimes, it’s good when the politician, like Carter, is honest enough to tell you that he is pro-discrimination. However, given the reaction of the crowd, it seems as though the tide is turning. There seemed to be more people in attendance who supported the young lesbian and disagreed with Carter. I can only hope that was the case. Keep paying attention. Things are going to get interesting.