The Town Hall Meeting Model

I watched a healthy dose of Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report last night, with some good friends. These episodes were focused on the town hall meetings Obama held across the nation about the health care plans. People bringing guns to these, yelling at the microphones, Nazi accusations…at first I was thinking, wow, Obama’s attempt at bringing community organizing and small governments back to democracy is not working.

But yes, it totally is!

In my community building class in Chicago, we watched videos of town hall meetings. We watched people passionately confront their local leaders and demand what they wanted. It not only worked, but it was inspiring and interesting and fun.  I’m glad people are pissed about healthcare. I’m glad people are scared that public transportation may lead to socialism (haha) and I’m glad they’re lining up in droves to protest what they think is right. Or out of fear. Whatever. They’re involved. They may be reiterating O’Reilly’s hyperbolic statements, some of them, but at least they’re doing it directly and not on their facebook (haha).

When Obama won, I didn’t want the Rebublicans’ voices to be silenced. I think their fear is unfounded, though, and I want them to confront it face-to-face, voicing it and hearing a human voice respond to them, instead of getting it drilled into their head from a radio show and pondering the fear into their hearts at night. It’s good when people feel they have a voice (power) again. What we all really want to avoid here is a backlash, whipping too far in the opposite direction of what happened from 2000 to 2008. So we have to listen to the conservatives.

Still, they can leave their guns at home for goodness’ sake!