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Roberts Rules of Order Assassinated by Senator

A town hall meeting should be fluid, animated and passionate, not canned, sterile and scripted.

I saw a notice about U.S. Senator Murphy's “town hall” in the Manchester JI and noticed the quotation marks around "town hall".  (lot of noticing, here)  Well, the quotation marks are appropriate, because this was anything but a town hall meeting; it was more like a lecture. 

Questions had to be written down ahead of time and were screened by an aid.  The aid read a question and Sen. Murphy followed by rambling on for several minutes, never directly answering the question, nor allowing any followup.  The name of the questioner was never given, so we don't even know for certain if the questions actually came from people at the meeting!

After about 45 min. of this, someone got up and objected to the format, pointing out that this was more like a lecture than a town hall meeting; that, there was no back and forth, no follow up, etc.

At this point, the audience became animated and vocal, joining in the objection.  Then, Mayor Leo Diana got up and lectured those in attendance, shaking his finger and scolding them for having the audacity to speak their minds! 

This caused folks to become even more animated and vocal, (finally adding some interest to the otherwise dull, boring event), as the mayor was treating them like children!   He then threatened to have people removed by police, who, mysteriously showed up about ten minutes later. Talk about contempt for the People; how dare they have the audacity to speak out!

Murphy said, "I'm not trying to shut down debate, here, . . . the reasons why we had this forum . . . there are a lot of other things people want to talk about in an open forum like this . . ." THIS WAS NOT AN OPEN FORUM, AT ALL. IT WAS A LECTURE BASED ON SCREENED QUESTIONS SELECTED BY HIS AID.

My idea of a town hall meeting is people standing up, looking the senator in the eye, asking their questions and getting a straight answer back while being looked in the eye, along with input, interjection from others in attendance, and follow up.

If Mayor Diana can't take the political heat, he should stay out of the political kitchen.  And Senator Murphy should study history to learn what a town hall meeting is really all about or start billing these events more honestly.  A town hall meeting should be fluid, dynamic, animated and passionate, not canned, sterile and scripted.

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William Boylan February 28, 2013 at 11:27 PM
Checker1, This did not start out as a shout-down. In between questions, I stood up and said, "Excuse me, Senator . . ." and the aid just kept on reading the question as if I didn't exist. THAT is what upset people, most.
Palin Smith March 01, 2013 at 04:33 AM
This video clip shows how Rep. John Larson (D) CD1 conducts his town hall meetings. Good old-fashioned free exchange of ideas, information and opinions. Compare that to the stale and sleepy Murphy meeting until Bill arises. http://youtu.be/vRNCwnAiXtc
Palin Smith March 01, 2013 at 06:02 AM
We attend town hall meetings not to change the incumbents' minds but to affect the audience, good or bad. Many fence-sitters accost us after the meetings. I advise everyone to make at least one or two new friends at each meeting. Talk to your seated neighbors to sense where they're coming from. Many people are desperate to find ways to do something to stop the reckless direction Murphy and his ilk have steered the country. Town hall meetings are like political learning centers. The people who try to stifle lively exchanges by shouting, "sit down", are your sheeple gentry for the most part. For every motivated person in the crowd, hundreds others wish they could attend. And in time they will! Forward the videos to all your friends and family. Most people don't realize how incompetent our elected officials have become.
Palin Smith March 01, 2013 at 06:16 AM
Tina......Senator Murphy specifically invited 2nd Amendment advocates to meet with him after the formal presentation. And that's who he spoke to. Murphy will be in New London and Fairfield as he closes out this set of town halls in March. Murphy has never avoided contact with his constituents. Unlike Joe Courtney and Rosa DeLauro, Mr. Murphy and Rep. Jim Himes (D) CT4, both relish contact with the public often. Call it a representative democracy or a constitutional republic, or whatever else, cherish our system of free access and free speech. You'll not find anything better.
Jill March 01, 2013 at 02:01 PM
People are upset because what Murphy, Malloy et al are doing is trying to turn them into criminals and felons for owning a legally made product ( most of which were produced right here in Connecticut). NOONE is going to register their guns. Pres Reagan signed a federal law making it illegal to require citizens to register their firearms. So these anti gunners will use their illegal laws to come into your homes and forcibly confiscate your guns. Yea , people get upset about things like that.

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