Tell Me What Democracy Looks Like

On Thursday evening, June 1, there was a real Town Hall meeting at the West Allis Library. It was one of the 73 meetings held by Cong. Jim Sensenbrenner since January.  His      meetings have a standard agenda. He chooses someone to ask a question and then responds—at length.  Normally, there is only time for five questions at most because his answers take up most of the meeting.
On June 1, the first man who spoke asked Sensenbrenner to help raise the minimum wage.  The  Congressman announced  that “econometrics  proved that every time the minimum wage goes up, unemployment increases .”  

The crowd groaned and booed since it is widely known  that raising the minimum wage has next to no effect on employment levels.  

Sensenbrenner banged the gavel. He said he wouldn’t tolerate disruption and if it occurred again, he would close the meeting.  He then repeated that increasing the  minimum wage causes unemployment. The crowd reacted again.  Sensenbrenner banged the gavel and  announced the meeting was over. He stormed out of the room and left the building with his entourage. Amid the confusion, someone said, “Let’s have our own Town Hall.”

A young woman with experience as a security guard and  teacher, went to the front of the room and called the meeting to order. About 35 people from the left, right and center of the political spectrum stayed and talked.  A young man with autism, a pre-existing condition, asked why his medical costs should rise because he was born with this condition. “I work, I pay taxes but I will have to pay much more for my health insurance.” 

A blind man and his wife explained why the Federal Disability act needed to add requirements that major intersections have signals for the blind and deaf.  A conservative asked whether Single Payer plans were really less expensive and expressed distrust of the government to manage systems.  A woman responded that she had lived in Canada and had medical security for the first time in her life.  People were not always concise. But concerns were clear and realistic. Most of all, it was evident that the men and women in the room were tired of being invisible and ignored during the decision making process.

Our people know what they need. People want to be heard. And that is what Democracy looks like.

This Is What Democracy Looks Like!!