Muskego Meets the 'New Normal' As Paul Ryan Comes to Town
Congressman's listening sessions have not been new to cities in the First Congressional District, but political climate has never been this charged.
The last time I saw Paul Ryan speak in Muskego it was to support then candidate Dave Craig for the 83rd Assembly seat in Wisconsin. A crowd of just under 100 were present, and while the focus was to be on Craig, the group couldn't help but ask questions of Ryan, who as a member of the House Budget Committee, is always asked for his take on financial matters.
Ah, the good old days. Ask a question, get an answer.
Listening sessions have been set up by members of both parties, but Ryan has drawn protestors, who seem to have the impression that no one else should be able to ask any questions to even have a chance to hear what the answer will be. I recently received a release from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, which plans on demonstrating at Ryan's town hall meetings, including the one scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Thursday at High Tide, which tells me this event might be no different.
However, town halls are different. They are the oldest ways that elected representatives can meet with their constituents, hear their questions, and yes, be challenged by voters who disagree with them in a respectful way. In addition, Muskego's concerns may not be identical to Greenfield's or Greendale's, which is precisely why they are held in each town and FOR each town.
While I'm hoping to cover the Q & A inside, I'm also going to be asking those protestors where they are from. I doubt any will be from Muskego, much less Waukesha County or the First Congressional District. I do hope they respect those of us residents who have an opportunity to talk with our congressman in our own hometown to do so without yelling out of turn, causing disruption and ultimately solving nothing.
I also hope they realize that small communities like ours have small police forces that have better things to do than spend hours preparing roadways, control crowds and enlist mutual aid from other smaller communities' forces to help them out. At Ryan's appearance at Klemmer's in September, protestors were choreographed throughout the meeting to stand up, disrupt and be forcibly removed by police from at least four different departments. It wasn't what democracy looks like, because honestly our forefathers envisioned the open exchange of ideas, and not a shouting match.
Ryan said at the time, 'welcome to the new normal.'
If that really is the case, we all lose.