This week-end will be the first series of many Town Hall opportunities to meet with Rep. Tom Red. If 2017-2018 is like Reed’s previous terms he will dedicate one Saturday a month (usually the 3rd Saturday, but not always) to meet his constituents, listen to their concerns and tell us that “he cares” and that “we will need to agree to disagree.”
This term’s Town Hall meetings take on new importance because politically left grassroots groups have organized and are proudly exercising their first amendment rights. Using strategies of Ghandi, Martin Luther King, and the Tea Party, and others, groups named #ReedsLastTerm, Southern Tier Action Together, Seneca Falls United to Resist, Concerned Voters of the NY 23rd, and others are planning to attend Rep. Reed’s meetings en mass. Rural Town Hall meetings which would normally draw maybe two dozen participants will see their numbers grow with district constituents from outside of their local region.
Rep. Reed, in an interview (see below) with Fox and Friends’ Steve Doocey, has already framed the newly energized patriots as “liberal hard left protesters” who are “angry because their agenda is threatened.” They agree that the goal of the liberals attending Town Halls is to disrupt the status quo. That seems ironic to me since Rep. Reed embraces the “disruption” that Trump brings to Washington, why would he embrace other disruption acts?
Ann Sullivan, from Tompkins County, in a Facebook entry, reacted to Reed’s Fox and Friends interview, and suggests that Civility be the rule for the day:
The shameful, misleading Tom Reed video on Fox and Friends has been posted below by another poster. I was at the December Barrington meeting. The people who questioned him were not agitated folks disappointed at the election, but seniors like me concerned about his assault on Medicare. Still, remember. Civility must rule at the town meetings next Saturday, Be polite, but be firm. The extent of Reed’s pushback (aided and abetted by Fox News) shows how nervous he must be at the pushback in his district. They must want to discredit us. Please read and remember, question Reed’s judgement, but not his motives.
Observe the Rules of Civility.
Greet your neighbor. Say hello to the Congressman’s aides.
Let Locals Speak First. If you have traveled a long way, you might hold back and listen to what local folks have to say. Avoid booing if you do not like an answer. Nobody will fail to note a vigorous sorrowful shake of the head, which is the polite way to register your displeasure.
Stick Around and Chat Afterward. Go up and shake the Congressman’s hand. Introduce yourself to more people in the audience after the meeting. Ask them what they thought. Listen to them. If they disagree, do not get into an argument. Question peoples’ judgement, but not their motives.
If a journalist is there introduce yourself as a constituent.
The Fox and Friends segment also pointed out that one of the “hard left” groups in his district placed an advertised “Political Activities Training.” A spokesperson for that group told me, “We also didn’t place an ad in the paper–nor did anyone actually involved in organizing the event. It looks like someone at the paper got wind of it (a training session) and decided to publish a scare-mongering piece without contacting any of us.” If you watch the video, and can pause it when the “Ad” is being shown, read what it says and compare it to what Steve Doocey reports. Scary.
Participating in Town Hall meetings is important. Record them if you can. He often, especially with large groups, wants you to write your questions down and hand them in. I would suggest do write them before you get to the meeting, and keep a copy for yourself. Hold Rep. Reed accountable. He often uses the question to slip in the GOP talking points and not answer the question.
Celebrate the freedoms that we have.