I drove to Blackstone, VA tonight to participate in the Town Hall meeting being held by Congressman Dave Brat. And it went downhill from there.
Since Brat’s 7th district was redistricted, Blackstone was “new” to the 7th, so Brat had scheduled a meeting with his new constituents. I arrived just after the meeting began at 7:00 PM, and as I neared the venue, I could immediately see a mass of humanity clustered on Main St. There were so many folks present that the meeting room had to be closed to new arrivals due to room capacity constraints, and I was not able to enter the venue (The attendee ratio was probably at least 5:1 anti-Brat, so if you value his representation, you should consider putting in the effort to show it). Luckily, there was a speaker placed outside the room so we could all hear what was happening inside, and a large crowd of anti-Brat protesters clogged the street immediately outside where Brat was speaking (we could see him through the glass front windows).
What I witnessed tonight regarding protester behavior was absolutely appalling. Immediately I could see the “cue cards” being used to manage the crowd/herd (so they could all respond in unison upon command), and respond they did. Brat would be asked a question, and then in many instances the crowd would chant over his response, making dialogue nearly impossible. There was little back-and-forth respectful sharing of one’s position…mostly what I saw and heard was a group of disrespectful people acting like adolescents who didn’t get his/her way, and then acted out.
If you’re going to travel to a Town Hall meeting, have questions asked, and then simply shout over the responses given…why even go? The answer of course, was easy to see from around the crowd itself. There were many, many media people there, happily capturing all the manufactured outrage against Brat. Its seems that was the entire point…to create a media spectacle. I 100% support the constituents rights to question their representative, but at least give the person a chance to respond. The recycled Occupy Wall Street bleating of “This is what democracy looks like” showed this evening NOT what democracy looks like, but a mob intent on shutting down real dialogue in favor of hooting and hollering to get its point across.
Shame on you Virginia…you can be better than this.