As I have stated before in previous political posts I identify myself as a Republican on good days and as a Conservative when the Republican Party does something foolish. I even have some tinges of Libertarian or Centrist but that’s neither here or there. What I’m trying to segue to is that there are certain Republican Representatives, Senators, and Governors that I like and respect. One of these is Senator Marco Rubio (R – FL) who I became a fan of during the 2016 Presidential Race. He wasn’t my number one guy, but I thought he was this young, vibrant Republican that kind of reminded me of John F. Kennedy. Now I’ve had a lot of respect of him so far but he recently he’s done something that a lot of other Republicans have done: not hold town halls. Marco Rubio has been one of the more popular Senators who has refused to hold town halls. Initially he was overseas in Germany and France and I think an international trip is a pretty good excuse for not holding a town hall meeting, but since he has gotten back from that trip, he hasn’t made any effort towards meeting with his constituents. He recently made a comment to the media saying that these town halls would only result in people screaming at him and heckling him. He then went on to say ‘They are not town halls anymore […] What these groups really want is for me to schedule a public forum, they then organize three, four, five, six hundred liberal activists in the two counties or wherever I am in the state.’ (Politico)
Now I do think he makes a valid point here. He doesn’t want to hold a town hall because it will become a huge media spectacle with hundreds of liberal protesters screaming and ranting and raving. So what? What if you hold a town hall and hundreds of protesters scream at you? What’s the worst that can happen? Honestly if you were a Republican Representative or Senator you truthfully say that you put forth effort to have a town hall and meet with constituents and it was rudely interrupted by protesters. You did your part and you’re not to blame when it comes to the protesters ruining the event. I know that’s kind of putting a spin on it but that’s what Politicians do. There are a ton of Republicans on all levels of government who are refusing to meet with their constituents because they are afraid of protests and backlash and that’s just silly. As an elected official you owe your constituents your time and effort. They deserve to have you listen to their concerns and questions no matter if they have the same ideology as you or not. Can you imagine if this situation was flipped and Democrats wouldn’t meet with Conservative constituents? The Republican Party and FOX News would have a field day talking about how Democrats were ignoring the “common people.” I know that a lot of events have been plagued by protesters (USA Today) and I’m sure some of them are not even constituents, but constituents will show up to these town halls and demand answers from their elected officials and that’s what it’s supposed to be about.
So yeah there might be protesters showing up to yell at you and make a ruckus, but I’m sure real constituents with real issues will also come out to speak to you. These are the people you need to meet with and these are the people you are ignoring when you refuse to hold a town hall. I’m not saying that these town halls will go smoothly and you won’t have these additional issues, but that shouldn’t be any excuse not to try. The threat of protest is such a weak excuse. Even Former Rep. Gabby Giffords made a statement to Congress members to “‘have some courage’and hold town hall meetings in spite of angry demonstrations.” (Time) That’s what I kind of wanted to say with this piece as well. To the Elected Officials out there no matter if you’re a Mayor, City Council Member, State Representative, State Senator, Governor, US Representative, or US Senator, MEET WITH YOUR CONSTITUENTS!! You owe them your presence and ignoring them is no way to do your job or win reelection. Don’t try to claim you care about them and the issues they face if you’re not willing to meet with them and hear their concerns. You have to be tougher than some protesters if you’re actually going to do your job correctly. And this goes for members who are Republican and Democrat. Go out there and do your job!
Reminder: Keep all discussion civil and on topic. I do not want to shut down free speech but I will if the speech is hateful and/or not-constructive. Thank you.