Email #239: “an excellent forum to come together”?

My family and I arrived in Amsterdam today and will be vacationing here until the middle of August. I looked at the Congressional calendar and I see that you are on vacation too. In fact you have the entire month off, five full consecutive weeks. It’s the longest Congressional recess of the year, more than double any other.

That’s why its traditional for members of Congress to hold town halls in August. According to the Tea Party Patriots website:

“During the month of August, the House and Senate will both be in recess, which means Members of Congress will spend a great deal of time working in their district offices.  This is a great opportunity for you and your local group to engage with the Member.  Town hall meetings are an excellent forum to come together as a community and ask questions about policy issues that affect everyone.”

The Tea Party Patriots recommend that community members organize town halls and then invite their Representatives to attend. But what if my member refuses to participate?

“If your representative will not participate in a town hall meeting, you may still want to host a town hall meeting. If you do host a town hall meeting without your representative, be sure to publish a press release and write a letter to the editor.  Mention that the people in your town came together to discuss a certain issue of mutual concern, but your Member did not want to participate.”

Community organizers in Roanoke followed each step of the Tea Party Patriots guide during the one-week Congressional recess last February when they held a town hall for you in Vinton. Your office said you couldn’t attend because you were visiting India. You also visited Bosnia, Albania, Macedonia and Greece during the one-week recess in May and so couldn’t attend a town hall then either.

Since you prefer to travel around the world rather than meet with your constituents in Virginia, you must have a lot of countries lined up for your five weeks of August. If Amsterdam is on the list, let me know. Maybe we can sit down in a coffee shop and discuss why you hate town halls so much.

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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