Within this article, written by Amber Phillips for the Washington Post, the topic of establishing requirements in order to attend town halls is discussed, stating the unfair difficulties of getting access to platforms that allow people to voice their complaints to their representatives. The founding fathers ratified this freedom in order to ensure that the people were able to address the problems they were facing with certain government decisions to guarantee that the democracy they strived to establish remained in tact. However, some members of congress have established requirements for attendees of their town halls including a proof of residency, photo ID, and pre registry that have made it increasingly difficult for people to petition the government and actually be heard. Phillips argues that the lack of access to their member of congress puts people in the position of being silenced since these restrictions, which defeat the purpose of a town hall, do not permit people to voice their concerns in a proper manner without being quickly dismissed or not taken into consideration. Reporter Amber Phillips is an analyst for The Fix of the news with the goal of helping people outside Washington, no matter their political affiliation, better understand what's happening inside Washington. However, she does seem to challenge the government in cases where it can be opinion-based whether the government is fulfilling its requirements or not. In this article, for example, she does accuse the requirements of attending town halls of being an objection to the initial purpose of town halls.
This article, written by Alex Thompson, published on the Vice news website, highlights the fact that for the first two months of the new congress, the 292 Republican representatives have only arranged 88 in-person town hall events, 35 of those sessions being organized by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin. On the other hand, in 2015 during the first two months, the congress consisted of Republicans that held 222 in-person town halls. Additionally, this article discusses how representatives are opting out for digital town halls through Facebook live sessions to gain more control over the questions they answer therefore avoiding difficult questions that could potentially harm their image. Congressmen are holding fewer in-person events to avoid unwanted viral moments and remain in the shadows of their decisions, limiting public advocacy over problems they face due to government issues. Alex Thompson, the author appears to take no stance on the topic, simply stating facts. However, it seems as his article appeals to those who are invigorated by the lack of town halls being held as he is shedding light into this topic.
In this article Dave Lieber, the author, mentions how U.S. representative Kenny Marchant has been missing from his office and has been refusing to hold a town hall on the basis of having a concern for security. He has abandoned his office claiming only the “Indivisible-Texas 24” members ( an obstructionist group) were the only ones to have filed petitions to his office. Lieber expresses the public rage of not being able to reach their representative by implementing some ways the public has tried to raise awareness for this issue including the creation of ironic memes/fake billboards that have spiraled throughout social media. Dave Lieber, the author, is a Jewish, New Yorker who moved to Texas in 1993 and is roundly known for being a storyteller and a motivational speaker having participated in a TED talk. As a democrat, his political participation is presented in his writing as he sheds light into the problem that is the lack of presence of Representative Marchant who is a member of the Republican party, however, he does refrain from simply stating his opinion in order to attract multiple audiences.
Through the inclusion of the case of Harold Hodge, John W. Whitehead brings light into the maneuver of representatives to avoid in-person town halls by holding digital town halls through social media sites in order to avoid receiving questions that completely contradict their beliefs and highlight their mistakes as congressmen. Whitehead expresses how interactions with politicians have become increasingly manufactured and distant in order to avoid difficult questions that might harm their reputation. John W. Whitehead is an attorney and author who has written, debated and has gained extensive background on constitutional law and human rights. Whitehead's concern for the oppressed led him, in 1982, to establish The Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit civil liberties and human rights organization ( its headquarters are located in Charlottesville, Virginia). His background as an advocate for human rights is a clear influence in his writing as he discusses how people have been disenfranchised by the specific crafts of legislative steps by government officials.
In this article, the writer, Emma Howard, advocates the lack of attention being placed on digital petitions as there has been an influx of them in representatives’ offices. Almost half of petition requests submitted to Directgov by the public are rejected before they reach the publication stage. There is no side being taken as the author is purely stating facts although Howard does urge readers not to leave the fate of their argument to the House of Commons because petitioning is a long process in which they need to hold people accountable for their actions.