Congress has been in recess, and for the past several days, my Facebook feed has been swamped with articles about Republicans’ complete bafflement as to their raucous town hall meetings. Honestly, do none of them have children? Specifically teenagers?
I have four still at home and let me tell you, my town halls are rarely peaceful affairs. My kids have definitely formed a resistance party and oppose any and all actions enacted on an executive level. So far, their protests seems to be focused around a labor strike, though, given the mess in their rooms, I can’t say for certain that a full-blown riot did not happen while I was at work.
If it were up to me, I wouldn’t hold meetings, either. For one thing, they never start on time. Representatives of the various special interest groups say they want to discuss, oh, a reduction in work hours, or an expansion of their civil rights and instead of showing up in a timely manner, I find that they nearly always have ditched the meeting. Where are they? Taking their arguments directly to the people, via their social media contacts. Let me just say, I have seen how my administration is portrayed by these miscreants and it is fake news, I tell you. Fake!
Secondly, constituents from other districts are always trying to add in their two cents. Listen, I don’t care what they do over on 36th street. This here is 17th ave and I have to do what’s right for the members of my house. The fact that they have unfettered internet access and zero late night curfews and a vastly different nutrition program means nothing to me.
Thirdly, there is always yelling. Now, I understand my children want to speak truth to power, but do they need to do it so loudly and so often? Hey! How about trying a different tack, maybe a little quid pro quo? A little, “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours?” Literally. Give me a dang backrub, and I might be amenable to extending your bedtime to 10:30. Try offering me a cup of coffee or breakfast in bed before you ask about that sleep-over, and you might find your weeknight travel ban lifted. Oh, sure, some of the more idealistic residents might call that bribery, but I say it’s just greasing the wheels of democracy.
In the end, though it pains me, oftentimes my subjects, er, I mean, my children have a point. I can cling too much to the past. Times have changed. The people here are more educated, more connected. They have established resources with communities outside this home. Perhaps they no longer need a nanny state to look after their best interests. And while several of their recent decisions leave me unconvinced that they are ready for total self-governance, I suppose allowing for more representation would be appropriate.
So this is my advice to our nation’s lawmakers; hold your town halls. Show up and listen. It is so easy for us to assume that our perceptions are the correct ones, that our opinions are irrefutable and our solutions undeniably sound. But as representatives of a richly diverse country, you are called upon to hear and understand the perspectives of all your constituents– your jobs depend upon it. But not mine. I was appointed for life. Sorry, children.