OPINION: Stop Trolling Politicians at Town-Hall Meetings

by STEPHANIE COHEN, National Review --

Most Americans, particularly those in suburban and metropolitan areas, may not know where their town hall is, or even if their town has one. But lately everyone, it seems, is ready to attend a town-hall meeting.

“Town-hall meeting” is the it phrase of 2017. In some cases, thousands of people beyond capacity are lining up six hours early to attend town-hall meetings, as if Bruce Springsteen, not their local congressional representative, were performing.

Use of the “town hall” gathering — for political grandstanding, outreach, or political gain — is a longstanding tradition embraced by both political parties. Go back through news articles and you’ll find spikes in reporting about town-hall meetings under Republican- and Democratic-led governments. There was a spike in October 2008 (coinciding with the run-up to the 2008 election), and again in August 2009, when President Barack Obama was touring the country during the summer recess and Tea Party members took to gathering at meetings to express their discontent. After that, the term sat on the word shelf gathering dust until President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

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