Mainly for a bit of midweek creative thinking, give a read to Linda Borg’s recent article in the Providence Journal about three members of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation and their hangout session with some local youths:
Only in a state as small as Rhode Island would you be able to corral most of your congressional delegation in the basement of a brew pub.
But there they were — U.S. Rep. David Cicilline, U.S. Rep. James Langevin and U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse — taking photographs and playing shuffleboard with some 65 millennials against the din of pop music. U.S. Sen. Jack Reed had planned on attending the meet-and-greet but got pulled away on official business.
Many of the college-age students were from organized progressive organizations; a couple had either worked for one of the congressmen or campaigned for them. The mood was relaxed, the questions mostly of the softball variety. This was friendly territory for the delegation, with hardly a Republican in sight.
Take note of the very last line of the article: “Sunday’s event was organized by all four members of the delegation.”
The creative part comes in imagining how the story would be presented differently were our delegation made up of conservative Republicans. First of all, the article wouldn’t lead with the misleading impression that some vague “you” had managed to “corral” the politicians together, in a sign of the warm closeness of our small state. Rather, it would start with the fact that the politicians had organized the event. Maybe the headline would be “Party Faithful Get Special Access,” and it would go something like this:
The promise of campaign-funded beer was not enough to fill the booths in the basement of a local brew pub, as Rhode Island’s conservative congressmen and one of two U.S. senators sought to lure young activists into their campaigns.
The absent senator had planned to attend but decided that his time was better spent elsewhere. Those who attended managed to slip in a few softball questions between bar games and to pose for campaign-ready “candid” photos with the three white Republican men.
If you’re a Democrat with substantive questions for your elected officials, you would not have been welcome.