I was among the many people who attended Rod Blum’s town hall meeting on May 9. Articles about the event in The Gazette and the New York Times were pretty accurate. There were a lot of angry, frustrated people there who were anxious to have their voices heard — in some cases a little too anxious, perhaps. But free speech is a fundamental right in this country and if one chooses to become a politician, one must expect and be prepared to answer dissenting voices.
I attended not because I expected to change Blum’s positions, but because I wanted the Congressman to recognize that many of his constituents see through the “alternative facts” of the Trump administration and are ready to fight for truth.
It was significant to me that the meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance, the national anthem and a prayer. All not-so-subtle reminders of Trump’s two guiding principles — “America First” and discrimination against non-Christians.
Blum’s responses to audience questions were canned, misleading and often crass. For example, he said that the new health care bill would only affect 12,000 people in his district, as if that justified his position. Only 12,000 sacrificial lambs could be ignored. Blum also repeated the inherent misdirection of equating access to benefits. A credit card gives you access to buying anything you want, but it doesn’t pay the bill for you. Neither does the new health care bill.