by Brooke Newman, cross posted from Daily Kos
Dave Brat, Virginia’s 7th district congressional representative, is feeling the heat. After weeks of running away from, insulting, and strategizing to silence his constituents, particularly the women “up in his grill,” Brat has just announced that he is holding yet another Facebook Live Town Hall tomorrow afternoon at 4:30–when most people will be WORKING.
“Tomorrow afternoon I will be hosting another Facebook Live Town Hall event. Please join me at 4:30pm when I will be sharing an update on what is happening in Washington and answer your questions.”
Brat’s last Facebook Live Town Hall event left much to be desired. As I noted in a piece published on Blue Virginia on Friday, 2/10/17, his constituents are seeking face-to-face engagement and open dialogue.
We are not interested in one-sided, ad hoc online “conversations,” during which a bemused legislative aid with poor poker-face skills reads out roughly 1% of the questions posed to her boss so that he may repeat his favorite talking points ad nauseam until the whole thing is over. During his Facebook Live Town Hall event, Brat made it clear that one of his favorite topics of discussion is himself. He particularly enjoys talking about his:
1. Seminary background, which, be believes, makes him an inherently kindhearted, loving, wise, and fair-minded man. “I wouldn’t hurt a fly,” he claims.
2. PhD in Economics, which, he believes, makes him the smartest guy in his district—if not all of Virginia/the USA/the World/the Universe.
3. Accessibility and “transparency.” His promise to listen to and engage regularly with his constituents is, after all, what helped him to defeat Cantor back in 2014. That, plus buckets of $ from out-of-state conservative donors including Betsy Devos.
However, what Brat fails to realize, and what I believe will ultimately lead to his undoing, is that the residents of his district know the difference between transparency and avoidance, between online “events” and in-person engagement. While many of us may not have voted for Brat and/or are actively seeking his political downfall in 2018, Brat still needs to treat us with respect and listen to our concerns.
We are, after all, his constituents. But if Brat continues to ignore our requests for engagement, we will seek representation elsewhere–and sooner rather than later.
This is why we, the residents of the 7th district, are holding our own live in-the-flesh public Town Hall event later this month, on February 23rd, at 7pm.
Our goal? To enable Brat’s constituents to come together to air their questions and concerns about education, healthcare, legislative developments in Washington, the Virginia 2017 elections, etc. in a safe, civil space and truly engage with one another.
While Facebook may be an ideal venue for posting photos of kittens befriending gerbils, nothing beats face-to-face conversation.
Rep. Brat, we’re ready we you are and hope to speak with you soon. In person.