Monday, November 02, 2009

When is a Town Hall Meeting Not a Town Hall Meeting?

Announced this past weekend in FortBendNow is the convening of a “Town Hall Meeting” hosted by State Rep and gas passer, John Zerwas (R - Richmond) along with State Rep Bill Callegari (R - Katy).

And that ordinarily would be the end of it. Town hall meetings happen often enough so as not to be newsworthy unless someone misbehaves at one.

But not this time. After all, the term “town hall meeting” has a time-honored democratic traditional meaning.

Here is the definition of “town hall meeting” that I found online:

“A Town hall meeting is an informal public meeting derived from the traditional town meetings of New England. Similarly to those meetings, everybody in a community is invited to attend, voice their opinions, and hear the responses from public figures and elected officials, although attendees rarely vote on an issue. In today's heterogeneous communities with large populations, more often, town hall meetings are held so that people can influence elected officials in their decision making or to give them a chance to feel that their voices are being heard.”
That about sums it up. But in reading further on, I find that the Zerwas/Callegari “town hall meeting” is anything but.

“The meeting will focus on how “big government” efforts have failed in Washington and California and what those failures could mean to Texas and the local area.”

“Area residents are encouraged to attend the meeting where local legislators will lay out ideas ‘to keep Texas a shining beacon of economic strength and moral values,’ according to organizers. Attendees will have an opportunity to provide feedback and ask questions as TCC, Callegari and Zerwas begin drafting a conservative agenda for the Texas Legislature.”

TCC stands for Texas Conservative Coalition, by the way.

So this is by definition anything but a “town hall meeting.” First, town hall meetings have no set agenda. This, on the other hand, not only has an agenda, but it is a rightwing fringe agenda.

An agenda whose focus is on how “big government” as witnessed in Washington, DC and California (two specific areas that are not in the purview of either state representative) has failed.

In other words, the agenda will focus on things that neither co-sponsor has anything to do about or has any say over.

And last time I looked, the "big government" in California was headed by Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a guy who spoke at the 2004 Republican National Convention.

Oh but I am behind the times, am I not? Obviously since he signed the bill making May 22nd “Harvey Milk Day” in California Arnold Schwarzenegger’s name has been taken off the list of real Republicans.

Yes, there is a new game in town: identification of true Republicans and ejection of all pretenders.

A new game that goes hand in hand with redefining what a “town hall meeting” is. In this new sense, any and all in the community are surely not invited.

Only the right-minded (literally) need show up.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One mistake on this article half is that most repugs don't even know what conservatism is or the constitution. They think corporate America dictates our democracy to us.