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A Town Hall Meeting, Republican Style

By       Message John Sanchez Jr.     Permalink
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We were then treated to an appearance from Rep. Adam Kinzinger via Skype from Washington, D.C. He didn't appear to be too bleary eyed from his marathon day and night on the House floor. He gave a brief history of his voting, as there is no extended history to address. He interrupted himself on at least three occasions to admonish his audience that we are all Americans without regard to our political persuasions, and should be civil to one another. I was happy enough to accept such a thing at face value despite having seen the Congressman in campaign mode.


Suddenly, in mid-sentence, nay, mid-word, the Congressman's image abruptly disappeared from the screen. Recovering from my moment of surprise, I considered how nice it would be if the electorate could dispose of him as quickly.


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With this uncounted on savings in time, constituents were invited to line up at one of two miked podia set up to allow them to ask questions. I moved to join the queue, ending up about a dozen constituents back in one of the lines. A quick assessment of my position revealed that it was unlikely that I would be able to address the Senator, but nevertheless, I held my position in line.


There were a couple of standout presentations from those in line. The first came from a woman who had a list of issues to be addressed, and starting with why do we subsidize oil companies, and moving consecutively through every other issue that I had, found the crowd applauding her on each point. After five or six such points, she asked the crowd to reserve the applause until she finished, and quickly proceeded through another four or five points in a voice that demanded an honest response.

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She did not get it. The Senator responded with his well-rehearsed talking points, offering nothing more.


She was followed by a few progressives and a lot of Fox News fans who were easily identified by their strong impressions and dearth of facts. Kirk's responses never wandered off the Republicanspeak reservation. For a moment, I entertained the notion that Frank Luntz might be crouching behind the podium pulling the Senator's string while he tried to yank ours.


The last person to speak was a man who held a place in line about three people ahead of where I stood. He introduced himself as a retired Marine officer and thanked the Senator for his military service, which drew an appreciative nod from the Sen. Kirk. Then he asked the Senator to justify support for cutting heating assistance to poor people when so much, if not all, of those savings were simply devoted to providing tax cuts for the top 2% of income collectors, resulting in zero net savings. The Senator feigned difficulty in understanding the question; to use up time until he could, at last, fall mute as the end of Q and A was announced.

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I did, finally get a brief audience with the Senator after the event as he shook hands and posed for photographs with his admirers. As he turned to me when I was next I thanked him for staying so long to hear his constituents. This elicited a friendly smile.


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I am a lifelong resident of the Chicago suburbs, with a several year hiatus to serve in the Navy when my Vietnam era draft notice turned up. I had been told that guys with last names like mine were among the preferred cannon fodder in the Army, so (more...)

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