As a fledgling liberal with a very loud voice on social media, I decided to take my voice straight to our congressman last week and find out why he wouldn’t have a town hall with us. I told him my story – how I was a conservative who voted for Bush to a moderate who voted for Obama and for a short time considered myself an independent before finally coming to terms with the fact that it was totally okay to be a southern (redneck) liberal.
He seemed totally aghast at the fact that I could be both redneck and liberal, but that’s besides the point.
Here’s what I learned in meeting with Mo Brooks: He is a coward.
He has no intentions of meeting with any of us in a public setting, and when I say “us,” I mean conservative, liberal, independent, furry, or otherwise.
The man literally lacks the backbone to stand up to his constituents.
I heard every excuse under the sun, and they’re mostly the same excuses that you’re hearing from other members of the GOP around the nation. It’s almost like they have a handbook or something. (Weird, right?)
So, I’ll just lay his excuses out for you and let you be the judge.
At first, Mo Brooks cited safety concerns about his town hall / not town hall that he canceled and showed up at anyway. (Source) I still don’t buy a word of his story that he never intended to show up and then did anyway to take the heat off of Greg Hopkins – the organizer of the event. He said that there wasn’t enough security in place to hold a town hall, both for him and for the citizens.
Okay, fair enough. So, why not reschedule?
When asked this question, Mo said that not only did he have to worry about “Muslim Terrorists” but also he had to worry about people like “that man” who shot Gabby Giffords and some of her constituents.
I have a couple of problems with this statement and you should too.
- “Muslim Terrorists.” Mr. Brooks seems to think that the only types of terrorists out there are the kind that come from Muslim countries or that are practicing Muslims. Otherwise, why not just say “terrorist”? (Important to note that he also stated this same thing in a recent AL.com article, so it’s not just something he said to me in private. Source )
- Make no mistake about it, the man who shot Gabby Giffords is just as much of a terrorist as the men who brought down planes on September 11th and the fact that Mo Brooks can’t see that is a little alarming. On top of that, Gabby Giffords has explicitly asked representatives to stop using her tragedy as a reason not to meet with their constituents, but Mr. Brooks continues to do so. (Source)
- If Mr. Brooks is so worried about gun violence, why is his voting record so pro guns? Just a passing thought I’ve had.
Mr. Brooks also stated that there are large groups of people who are set out into town halls to disrupt them and cause political discourse. And, on some account he’s right. There are in fact groups of people who just want to cause a problem. But, if Congressman Brooks thinks that the people who sit outside of buildings and wait in line for hours on end to get into town halls are there just to cause a ruckus, he needs to think again. If Mr. Brooks thinks that the people who are holding town halls with or without their reps are there just to cause discord, he’s got some flaw in his logic.
It all comes down to this: Mr. Brooks is reading from the same playbook that Marco Rubio, Louie Gohmert, and others are reading from. It’s no big shocker that they all say the same things and have the same excuses. He’s not the only offender in the state of Alabama or in District 5 either. Richard Shelby and Luther Stranger should be held just as accountable as Congressman Brooks.
Mr. Brooks states that he will meet with constituents in private any time that he’s in town and has appointments open – and I would encourage every single one of you to take him up on that. You can schedule an appointment by calling his office at 256.551.0190. Fill his schedule up. Make your voice be heard. But go prepared because this man will talk over you at every chance he gets. He will spout statistics and he will proudly talk about his election wins. He will use slimy politician tactics to change the subject whenever possible and he’ll try to intimidate you by having many members of his staff present, even if it’s just you going. So take a friend (or take ten).
Don’t stop asking for your town halls. Mr. Brooks says he does telephone town halls periodically, however I signed up and was not called (and I wasn’t alone). This man is purposefully ducking any voter who isn’t a tea party voter and now is not the time to sit quietly by and let him get away with it. If you can’t make it to a private meeting, don’t stop calling and requesting a town hall. Don’t stop sending letters. Don’t stop tweeting, posting to Facebook, or whatever else you’re doing to make your voice heard. We can’t afford to be silent any longer.
Democracy is for the people by the people. Don’t let Congressman Brooks (or Senator Strange, or Senator Shelby) forget it.
Chris Christie said it best: “You asked for the job, go do it.“
PS: Rep. Gary Palmer (AL-06 survived his town hall. Something tells me you will, too Mr. Brooks.)