Earlier this month, a video of angry voters shouting “do your job” at Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz went viral.
A local Fox affiliate reported:
The congressman was greeted with an auditorium full of boos. Then he mentioned the president and he got booed even more.
“I mean, everyone can complain and all that kind of stuff, but if you don’t show up and put your money where your mouth is no one is going to change anything,” said resident Ryan Fitzpatrick.
When it came time for questions, people say Chaffetz was avoiding answers regarding public lands.
“Not every single person has the same view-point on the public lands,” Chaffetz told the crowd.
One woman even rushed the stage while screaming. However, the biggest outcry of the night came when a man asked Chaffetz why he would call President Trump despicable, yet the Ethics Committee refuses to investigate him.
“Do your job, do your job, do your job,” cheered the crowd.
Scenes similar to this have been repeated during throughout the nation.
Sen. Tom Cotton was met by angry voters worried about the GOP’s plans to unravel Obamacare at a recent event in Arkansas.
Sen. Marco Rubio said he skipped a Miami town hall because he expected people there to “get rude and stupid.”
New York Rep. Peter King suggested recently that he’s refusing to show for town halls because voter anger about the election outcome is making the people who show up act irrationally.
He said: “I’m gonna do a telephone town hall, where people can call in. But to me, to turn this into a spectacle — and I’m against it on either side. I just think if you want to have a intelligent logical discussion that’s fine, but just to turn it into who can scream and yell the loudest. … I have 800,000 people in my district. So let’s say three or 400 people show up to scream. Do I listen to those as opposed to the others who aren’t there? On the other hand, I’m not ignoring the fact that people are angry and have some legitimate grievances.”
Other lawmakers, like Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks and Rep. Louis Gohmert of Texas, say they’re skipping the local voter meetings because they fear for their safety.
“At this time, there are groups from the more violent strains of the leftist ideology, some even being paid, who are preying on public town halls to wreak havoc and threaten public safety,” Gohmert said.
He continued: “Threats are nothing new to me, and I have gotten my share as a felony judge.
“However, the House Sergeant at Arms advised us after former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot at a public appearance, that civilian attendees at Congressional public events stand the most chance of being harmed or killed – just as happened there.”
There’s no doubt that certain people showing up for these meetings are angry leftists with no goal beyond being disruptive—but the meetings are also a forum for people with legitimate grievances. It isn’t just Republican lawmakers skipping face time at home—vulnerable Democrats are just as guilty. And lawmakers refusing to show up because of unruly crowds are setting a dangerous precedent.
If government officials are given freedom to hide from confrontation and controversy, how long before they decide the nation needs a law to prevent criticism in any form?
Lawmakers who don’t want to face angry and unreasonable voters in public forums may need to look for a new line of work.
It’s also worth noting that many of the lawmakers skipping town halls haven’t cleared their calendars altogether, they’re even spending time listening to the opinions of Americans who can afford to attend $10,000 per plate fundraisers. At prices like that, the discourse is certainly more comfortable.