For what it may be worth–not much, I’m afraid–I think that Sen. Arlen Spector did the right thing when he went over and took the mike to the man who was so upset during that town hall meeting, and I think the media in general is being unfair to him. I don’t agree with the handing out of question cards to the Anointed Askers during these Town Hall events, but that’s standard politico practice that the Bush admin used (and many before them), so it probably seemed “reasonable” *sigh* to the organizers of the event. (After all, if you don’t screen questioners at all, you DO get a lot of people who are unfocused and just want to rant or like to hear themselves talk–it’s always a crapshoot. They want their events to go off as positive public relations, remember.) The man–some might say “heckler” who just shouted out when he got fed up, and some might say that’s not proper behavior in any situation, but nevertheless–did have his say, and I feel that Spector handled him in the only way you could have handled him. That said, the man also seemed mildly mentally challenged as well as hampered in his speech by something (post-stroke? Breathing problems? Extreme stage fright? Who knows?), and most venues would have cut off his talk much sooner, calling it a “rant.” It wasn’t entirely on topic, and it didn’t entirely make sense. If he’d been in Vegas heckling Rickles–boy-O-boy, I’d have loved to hear THAT one.
ANYway, I think people are being unfair to Spector. You may or may not like his politics, or his recent change of party, or the color of his shoes, or whatever–but anyway, I feel like he handled the deal in the only possible way. He went over with the mike and let the guy talk. (I know it would be nice if they didn’t pre-choose questions and people, the way the Bush admin liked to do, but I’m afraid that most events are run that way now *because* there are a lot of cogs and nuts out there who would just like their 15 minutes of fame and will try to disrupt any forum . . . it’s better to do SOME type of pre-screening, and I suppose they think this is the easiest way for them to get questions they know they can answer. Sigh. They ALL do it, as far as I can tell. Doesn’t excuse it, but there it is.)
I wish the citizenry was not so gullible nor so easily swayed by whatever the media decides to emphasize. But I also know that to make any kind of decision based on reason would require a citizen to read that entire bill that’s under discussion, and to comprehend it (simply because someone reads something does NOT mean that they understood it–reading comprehension is at an all-time low, as far as I can tell), and that takes a lot of time. People don’t HAVE a lot of free time, and they must take care of the other demands on their time, so . . . I can see why most citizens just aren’t going to read the bill through in its entirety. And so the media circus will flare on.
Look, there’s a juggling tightrope walker prancing over the ring of marching elephants! And a Volkswagen full of clowns. Just don’t play that awful SONG about the clowns . . . please . . . no . . . aaaaAAAAAA . . . *covering ears*