At a Brooklyn Town Hall Powerpoint Trumps Democracy

The limiting of the conversation, even in the name of civility, is certainly counter to the concept of town hall meetings. What are these politicians afraid of? Conservative disrupters? Not too many of those in the crowd on this night. More likely. they fear that the will of their constituents will force them to fight for a single-payer system, despite the wishes of corporate lobbyists and campaign contributers.

At least there was a little good news at the August 31st healthcare town hall meeting in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. No death panels under the proposed Obama healthcare reform. But the good news ended quickly. Town hall meetings are supposed to offer people a voice , a chance to participate in the often distant democratic process. No such luck at Congresswoman Yvette Clark’s (D) town hall. Index cards were substituted for democratic debate. Attendees were asked to write their comments on cards and turn them in to ushers. This allowed the Congresswoman to avoid the kinds of antics being reported from town halls across the country, but more importantly, allowed her to dodge uncomfortable questions. Democratic process was flushed, but order maintained. Barely.

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