What exactly are Townhalls for? Are they for members of Congress to hear from their constituents? Or are they for members of Congress to pontificate, spin and obfuscate? Apparently Congressman Brad Sherman thinks the latter.
Sherman spent the first 25 minutes wasting time. He introduced his staff and had his chief of staff give a little talk about how they can arrange White House tours for you when you visit Washington, or help you with an IRS problem or Medicare issue.
Then he spoke glowingly about how wonderful it was that we were meeting at El Camino High School and how he used to represent this area and he’s so happy that he represents them again. Then he gave a flag that flew over the Capitol to the President of the PTA.
At last he got to issues……at least the issues he wanted to address. He spoke at length about trade with China. Trade with China? Is that the most pressing issue for you? He spoke about how unbalanced trade with China was. I think we all know that. I looked around the audience. People looked bored, people were yawning, people were frowning and whispering to one another. I was concerned to start that the audience was stacked with Sherman supporters. But I think even die hard Democrats couldn’t believe this was the issue he addressed.
Finally it was time for questions from his constituents. He gives out tickets and calls numbers for people to speak. Speakers are only given a minute and there are no follow up questions allowed. The first few were uneventful. One man wanted to know why Sherman couldn’t get some money for a senior citizen center. Sherman said ear marks had been cut off but if they got reinstated that would be high on his list.
After a slow start, things started to get interesting. A woman asked, to great applause, why Congress and their staff were getting their ObamaCare paid for when private citizens got no such benefit. Sherman tried to tell us that wasn’t the case to shouts of “Liar” from the audience. Another woman started by saying members of Congress worked for us, not the other way around.
Once ObamaCare and Immigration reform came up, all Hell broke loose. The majority of the audience was clearly against both. People stood and shouted. One man started by saying he personally had already benefited from ObamaCare. This was met with a disapproving rumble. But he followed it by saying that, regardless of any benefit to him, ObamaCare was the worst thing to ever happen to this country. People cheered, whistled and shouted approval.
When border security, immigration and amnesty came up it was abundantly clear most of the audience was not just against it, they were angry about it. A man asked Sherman if he knew how many illegal aliens we were told would get amnesty in 1986 and how many actually got amnesty. Sherman’s response was the most absurd obfuscation I’ve ever seen. He wasn’t in Congress in 1986 so he really didn’t know. He said the only thing Republicans and Democrats agreed on was that there are 12 million now. (Considering the fact the 2000 census said there were 11 million then, how is it possible for there to be only a million more in 13 years when border patrol says between one and three million cross our border yearly). I find it stunning that a member of Congress would be so uninformed and uninterested in an issue that has had such a detrimental effect on the state he represents. An issue that could change this country forever.
Sherman went on to ramble about buying hamburgers at McDonalds. He said if you bought a hamburger at McDonalds you’d use a card with a hologram on it but if you wanted a job there you didn’t have a card with a hologram on it………what? He gave the typical talking point, “The system is broken” to shouts of, “It hasn’t been enforced”.
Some in the audience thought we should be more respectful of our members of Congress. I couldn’t disagree more. Respect is earned not bestowed. There are very few members of Congress that have done anything to earn our respect. These Townhalls should be listening sessions not pontificating sessions. As the woman said, they work for us and they are supposed to represent the will of the people. ObamaCare was passed with not a single Republican vote and against the will of the majority of the people. There is nothing to respect.
If Congressman Sherman’s constituents hadn’t been as passionate and vocal about their objection to and disrespect of what the government is doing he would believe we all were in agreement with it. We aren’t just disapproving of what is happening to this country, we are angry about it. I’m sure Congressman Sherman knows that now and I hope it scares him.