Email #221: Zero of 173

So far this year, Republican members of Congress have held a total of 173 town halls. 99 of them were held by House Republicans. Of Virginia’s 11 Representatives, only two have not held town halls in 2017: Barbara Comstock and you. Virginia Republican Reps. Dave Brat, Rob Whitman, Morgan Griffith, Scott Taylor, and Tom Garrett have all faced their constituents. Why haven’t you?

You said you would hold a town hall if it was “conducive to conversation,” and that is exactly what I proposed to your DC chief of staff. Ours would be held in Lexington and open only to residents—not anyone from district 6 but only those who live within Rockbridge county. I also proposed keeping the event small, giving out only 100 tickets in advance. I even proposed that the tickets would be equally distributed between Republicans and Democrats through local organizations. And anyone who received a ticket would agree to listen respectfully to you with no booing or other disruptions.

This format is tailored to you, and yet you still have not responded to the request. Was your “conducive to conversation” requirement sincere, or was it yet another way of putting off an obligation you have no intention of ever fulfilling? If so, would you please stop misleading your constituents and admit that you will under no circumstances hold a town hall? If you have to be a coward, you could at least be an honest one.

Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an associate professor at W&L University, comics editor of Shenandoah, and series editor of Bloomsbury Critical Guides in Comics Studies. He has published two novels: School for Tricksters (SMU 2011) and Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002); and six books of scholarship: On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa 2015), Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), Superhero Thought Experiments (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Iowa 2019), Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Routledge 2020), Creating Comics (with Leigh Ann Beavers, Bloomsbury 2021), and The Comics Form (Bloomsbury forthcoming). His visual work appears in Ilanot Review, North American Review, Aquifer, and other journals.

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