Editorials

Hey, congressman, mind if we punch you?

So members of a group called Indivisible, formed by Democratic Party insiders, can’t understand why our local Republican congressmen don’t want to be their punching bags.

The local wing of Indivisible says it has offered to hire off-duty police officers to provide security at town hall meetings, if U.S. Reps. Mike Bost, John Shimkus and Rodney Davis would just show up.

A member of the group told us that the Indivisible folks just “want dialogue” with the congressmen. They also want to be able to videotape their meetings with the congressmen.

Excuse us for being a little skeptical of the group’s motive. The Indivisible folks are the same people who have asked us to cover “mock” town hall meetings where they throw questions at cardboard cutouts of the congressmen. Does that sound like a dialogue? Or does it sound like a political PR stunt?

The congressmen say they prefer to have meetings with small groups of constituents, and to hold telephone town halls. They say town halls have become disruptive spectacles where no real discussion takes place. And can you blame them for being a bit concerned about their safety, especially after what happened on that ballfield in Virginia?

Look, we know that the Tea Party did the same thing to Democratic lawmakers — packing meetings and trying to trip up the lawmakers and make them look silly on video.

It’s unfortunate that we’ve gotten to this point. The town hall meeting used to be a good way for elected leaders to find out how their constituents felt about things, and a good way for citizens to convey their opinions.

Though the town hall meeting might become a thing of the past, we now have quick, high-tech ways, like email, to communicate with our leaders. While tagging a congressman on Facebook or mentioning him in a tweet just doesn’t have the same feel as a face-to-face meeting, it’s also not an ambush.

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