When it comes to local issues, “town hall” meetings with politicians are a failure. The politician attends on the side of one moneyed interest or another to tell the citizenry he is going to sacrifice their interests. The moneyed interest makes a presentation, a low-level friendly in the audience asks a leading question, and the politician expounds on the great service the interest has done for the community. If you have a problem, by this time you’re steamed. So when you do get a chance to talk, you’re going to blow your stack.
The healthcare town halls are top-down affairs on behalf of an elite system to take over decision-making about US healthcare. Those opposed see themselves as unrepresented by the elite media, insurance industry, or elite government — so when they do get a chance to talk, they will freak out.
Town hall – style politicking failed because it didn’t have anything to do with an actual town hall. I have been to enough to know that discussion should take place without politicians first (I’m beginning to think they should never be let in, just informed of the results and told to go vote the way we want). Why politicians have become an impediment to agreement and progress is not hard to discover. I look forward to the young generation of politicians who will figure out that broad populist campaigns are there for the politicians to learn what to do, not for them to tell us what we should swallow.