RR Star:My View: Adam Kinzinger impressive; town hall crowd? Not so much

I know what it means to serve my country in the armed forces and so does Adam Kinzinger. If his military experience was like mine, he saw firsthand what it means to be an American in places with very few things in common with our great nation; places where speaking out against an elected official isn’t even an option.

I attended the congressman’s recent town hall meeting in Rockford and was impressed with his grasp on the issues. The town hall was tame in comparison to some I’ve seen lately on the news, which speaks volumes for the attendees.

Around 500 people showed up to hear the congressman. I’d say 65 percent of the room was on the left end of the political spectrum and the remainder somewhere between or on the right end of the political spectrum.

Though this town hall didn’t get as rowdy as others I’ve seen on the news (perhaps because it was clear that a great number of people were supportive of Congressman Kinzinger), at the same time, I was disappointed at how some of the attendees behaved.

Attendees were asked not to clap or comment to enable the congressman to answer as many questions as possible in the limited time frame. As an option, attendees could use red cards and green cards to hold up when they agreed or disagreed with the congressman.

I found it humorous that people would hold up their red card before the congressman even started his answer and sometimes before the question was even finished. Other times, boos and a few catcalls started right when the congressman began to speak. It’s clear these individuals had no interest in listening to coherent dialogue. They walked into that gymnasium with their minds made up.

Some of the comments and catcalls I heard from individuals were not appropriate. It’s laughable how some people admonish the president for a tweet or something he says, but are just as guilty with making colorful statements. But some people can’t help themselves. I guess it comes down to … do as I say and not as I do.

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Additionally, a too large portion of a left-leaning cluster of the red card first, listen later group, seemed genuinely pleased that coal miners have lost their jobs. No empathy or support for blue-collar workers from that left-leaning crowd.

Speaking as a veteran, I am troubled by the lack of understanding the attendees demonstrated regarding foreign policy. Fortunately, the congressman seems to have a solid base and understanding of foreign affairs.

I walked away from the town hall impressed not only with the congressman’s knowledge and stances on the important issues, but as well as staying above the fray. I don’t agree with everything the congressman said, but he demonstrated we can disagree without being disagreeable – that we can talk without talking past one another.

Perhaps, if 535 members of Congress had the same line of thinking, we’d have no issues getting big things accomplished.

Commander A. M. Murphy USN–retired, is a Rockford resident.