Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Baron Hill Talks To The Serfs

Wow, Baron Hill sounds like a dictator rather than a representative in this little excerpt from a recent town hall meeting.

I don't know why I'm surprised to see this though. After all, I've really seen Hill in action and described the experience in a recent column posted below written prior to Hill scheduling any town hall meetings.

I really, really wish we had videotaped that visit to our booth that I describe below. Maybe he wouldn't even be around to dictate how others should live their lives.

HARBESON: A shout-out to Baron Hill

By now, many of you have probably heard about the town hall meetings being held by members of Congress during this summer recess. Apparently, lots of angry constituents are turning out and some of the meetings have been quite rowdy.

This is nothing new, of course. Angry people show up at political meetings on a regular basis.

What is new is the feeling that this time the amount of people who are frustrated is large enough that their shouts of disagreement appear to be effectively shutting down any opportunity for discussing the health care issue. Now the Democrats are even calling their actions “un-American.”

That’s creating a very uncomfortable situation for those who have yet to hold their traditional town hall meetings, including our local Rep. Baron Hill.

Katie Moreau, Hill’s press secretary, told me it looks like the congressman will not have a traditional town hall meeting because it’s been proven not to work all over the country.

I can’t say I blame Hill. He already knows what he needs to know without enduring an “un-American” town hall meeting. And really this might be best for everyone because he might just end up shouting himself. I know because I’ve seen him do it.

It was almost eight years ago exactly, back when I was helping to start a third party in Clark County. As one of our first public activities, we hosted an information booth at The Steamboat Days Festival in Jeffersonville. We enjoyed pleasant conversations and debates with the people who walked up to our booth throughout the day.

Then I noticed a guy in the crowd wearing a tie. His shirt sleeves were rolled up and he was shaking hands with everyone. Even without seeing any babies, I knew he was a politician and I was right. It was Congressman Hill. When he saw our booth, he immediately marched up with a wide smile on his face.

He said, “Well, if it isn’t the Libertarians! It’s great to see more political action going on down here.” Then he proceeded to vigorously shake our hands and said he was “out getting a feel for the mood of the country.” (This was shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.) One of our volunteers shared his mood about our government’s foreign policy.

I didn’t pay too much attention to the two of them at first because I really only go to festivals for the food and was busy eating something bad for me. At some point though, when Hill realized the volunteer didn’t agree with his method of dealing with the issue, Hill wondered aloud what our volunteer had been smoking.

But that insult wasn’t enough. Hill ended by shouting that he “didn’t come down here to argue, he came down here to get the mood of the nation,” and stormed off.

Apparently he only wanted good moods. I didn’t know how to describe it at the time, but now thanks to Pelosi, I know I should call his action “un-American.”

I tell this story to point out that Congressman Hill understands how easy it is to respond by shouting when you get frustrated. So Congressman Hill, if you do end up not having your traditional town hall meetings, you’d better do something so people who are upset about your approval of more government control of health care feel like they are being heard.

If you don’t, you’re going to have to deal with a large group of people who are in a really, really bad mood. And you won’t be able to just shout at them and storm off in your own righteous anger this time around.

Sellersburg resident Debbie Harbeson admits that politicians often make her want to kick up her heels and shout.

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