Thursday, March 7, 2013

How To Pre-Edit A Town Hall Meeting

Real Town Hall meetings can be a bit unruly, a test both for citizens and their representatives -- but not if they are pre-edit by Governor Dannel Malloy’s Malloyalists.

The format in a Middletown Town Hall meeting obliged residents to fill out a sign-up sheet stating their names and the topic of their questions, according to a report in the Middletown Press:“The governor’s staff selected questions based on subject matter, according to Andrew Doba, a spokesman for the governor.”

Five minutes into the meeting, one woman, perhaps more used to uncensored Town Hall meetings than either the governor or his media director, protested, “This is supposed to be a town hall meeting, sir.” Residents, she said, “should be able to voice their opinions.”

If the citizen protesting the curbs on free speech at Town Hall meetingshad submitted her protest to Mr. Doba, her objection likely would never have been raised publicly.

A brief interrogatory between Dave Berry of Glastonbury and the governor surfaced when Mr. Berry, pointing out that police officers were armed, asked the governor whether he thought Mr. Berry’s life was less precious than theirs. He asked the governor, “Do you think that your life is more important than mine?”

Mr. Malloy advised Mr. Berry “if you pass a background check, you get to keep [your gun].”

The motive behind the new firearms restrictions he prefers, Mr. Malloy said, referring in particular to the five-year ban on gun ownership for those convicted of drunk driving, is that “if we find out some reason why you shouldn’t have that gun, then you shouldn’t have that gun.”

Mr. Berry, no doubt imagining he was participating in a real Town Hall meeting, responded “I don’t know what drunk driving has to do with gun ownership,” and the scripted questioning continued.

Mr. Berry and the Middletown non-participants in Mr. Malloy’s road show may be unaware that there is a well-documented connection between the kind of mass-murders that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School and psychotropic drugs.

Perhaps at his next scripted Town Hall meeting Mr. Malloy’s media editor will allow a question on the subject. That one, at Wesleyan University’s Beckham Hall Friday at 11AM, will be devoted to a discussion of mental health issues.

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