A House Republican who has a town hall scheduled for Wednesday night in Minnesota is warning that he will cancel the event if anyone shows up to protest. Rep. Tom Emmer is warning that if anyone shouts or chants at his town hall, he will cancel the event.
The Pioneer Press reported on a statement from Rep. Emmer’s (R-MN) chief of staff, “Should this event turn into a disruptive display, or if there are any violent actions or threats, we will end the meeting and be forced to reassess our policy on town halls going forward,” David FitzSimmons wrote in a statement. Among the behavior Fitzsimmons said qualified as ‘disruptive’ were ‘shouting’ and ‘chanting.'”
Rep. Emmer is missing a few key concepts about how democracy works. People have the right to show up to his event and protest. It’s called free speech. The First Amendment directly applies to a person’s interactions with their government. Rep. Emmer is a representative of the government who was elected by the people.
Since his constituents pay his salary, Rep. Emmer works for them. He does not have the right to threaten his constituents with scrapping his town halls if people say things that he does not want to hear. As a member of Congress, Emmer should want to hear what the people that he is representing have to say.
If Rep. Emmer believes that he doesn’t have to listen to the people who he has sworn to serve, then the 6th district in Minnesota needs a new congressperson
Republicans don’t know how to handle these protests, but Rep. Emmer’s threat to constituents is the absolutely wrong way to deal with angry folks back home.
If Emmer cancels any town halls, voters need to cancel his employment in the House in November 2018.