This is a short clip from the recent “Town Hall” type meeting that brand-new Rep. Karen Bass had with her constituents here in Cal-33. This has got to be one of the most diverse districts in California, if not the entire U.S. in these Gerrymandered times.The room was a real mix of black, white, Asian, Latino, old, young, male, female … there were even a couple of Tea Party types loudly blaming Bass in the hallway outside the room. I half expected them to act the fool during the meeting, but somehow these old white angry men wilted in the face of the loud cheering that Bass got.
Which is my one objection to the whole exercise. There was a lot of preaching to the choir here. She told the people in the room what they wanted to hear – that the GOP is planning on destroying Medicare, jobs, the economy and basically everything else. Which may have a bit of truth to it – but seems to be the kind of exaggeration and spin that seems to piss off so many of the constituents when they see it coming at them from the other side on Fox News.
The best part of the meeting was when Bass brought up one of her pet issues – foster care. She mentioned that she was working with Michelle Bachman. The room erupted in boos. But to her credit, Bass stood up there and said that despite not agreeing on just about every other fact under the sun, she and Bachman were working together on reforms to the foster care system. And that Bachman had fostered 14 kids on her own, and graduated each kid from high school, while simultaneously raising five of her own.
The room went quiet, and you saw a lot of people raising their eyebrows and looking sideways at each other.
“Respect,” muttered a guy in the row behind me.
In these polarized times, that kind of reaching across the aisle, no matter how out of the limelight the issue, is something that we need more of.