For many Americans (albeit, perhaps only over a certain age) mention of public town halls brings to mind the painting titled “Freedom of Speech” by Norman Rockwell:
In 2013, in Obama’s “fundamentally transformed” America, we’re rapidly approaching the point at which more people may think of this image, captured from a video of a Maryland town hall meeting concerning the imposition of national Common Core standards on public schools (with many private schools following suit):
The background (as the video and coverage suggest) is that an informational forum was proceeding with canned soft-ball questions in a dog-and-pony show of insiders, and at least one parent stood to express more targeted concerns. He was literally dragged and pushed out of the event.
If the American media were doing its job, this image would be on the cover of every newspaper and “news magazine” in the country. “Don’t tase me bro” was pushed into the national lexicon in 2007 when a college student moved a town hall with Democrat John Kerry to the topic of George Bush’s secret college society and was dragged out and tasered. (I thought I’d commented on that at the time, but I can’t find it.)
Now we’re looking at a middle aged parent and a town hall on the federal government’s reach into local school districts.
Remember that old cliché about “I did not speak up because I was not a…”? Might be time to start applying its lesson.