What Democracy Looks Like: Packed Town Halls and Demands to Be Heard

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What Democracy Looks Like: Packed Town Halls and Demands to Be Heard

'I look out into an audience like this, I just kind of think to myself, the founding fathers would say this is what we worked so hard for,' says Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon

"Letting people share their voice!" wrote Twitter user Amber Halverson at a town hall with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on Sunday. (Photo: @amber_halv/Twitter)

Recess resistance rolled on this weekend, with people packing town hall meetings across the country and constituents increasing the pressure on lawmakers who won't commit to facing voters head-on.

Roughly 800 people attended Rep. Karen Bass' (D-Calif.) town hall meeting in the Palms neighborhood of Los Angeles on Sunday, raising concerns about the Affordable Care Act, immigration, and President Donald Trump's right-wing agenda.

"I think we should all be extremely concerned," local resident Maya Zapata told news station KABC. "It's pretty scary stuff that we're hearing and it's really unprecedented."

 

Further north, in Eugene, Oregon, a whopping 2,000 people filled a community college auditorium to hear Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) talk. "When I look out into an audience like this, I just kind of think to myself, the founding fathers would say this is what we worked so hard for," Wyden told the crowd.

These shows of force came on the heels of similarly impressive crowds that showed up to town halls in Illinois, New York, South Carolina, Wisconsin, and elsewhere on Saturday—and ahead of a week of coordinated resistance during lawmakers' Congressional recess.

To that end, constituents are bearing down on Republicans and Democrats alike, demanding they make time to hear from voters during a period known as "District Days." To assist, the Indivisible movement, which is spearheading the #ReclaimRecess campaign, has created a "Missing Members of Congress Action Plan."

From a rally outside Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-Calif.) mansion on Sunday afternoon to a "mock town hall" targeting Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas) on Sunday evening, the resistance is working to call attention to congresspeople who appear to be dodging their responsibilities as elected officials—in some cases, going so far as to set up the meeting themselves.

When that doesn't work, as in Bryan-College Station, Texas, on Sunday, the crowd isn't deterred. Though Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) wasn't able to attend the event set up by the local Indivisible chapter, the audience "recorded their questions on a video that will be sent to Flores's office," according to The Eagle newspaper.

And on Monday morning, after constituents chanted for a town hall outside Rep. Jim Jordan's (R-Ohio) tour of former President Warren Harding's home, the congressman agreed to take questions. Watch below:

Rachel Maddow tackled the topic on her show Friday night:

Find a town hall near you at the Town Hall Project website.

Follow hometown resistance efforts under the hashtags #ResistanceRecess and #ReclaimRecess:

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