President Obama, Thanks For Having an Open Discussion

Last week, President Obama did something that is virtually unheard of in American Politics and had an open frank talk with his detractors. During an hour long Congressional Town Hall Meeting, President Obama answered questions asked by Republicans, addressing their concerns and sharing his viewpoints.

Now if you don't live in the United States, this probably doesn't sound like anything exciting, as it is par for the course in many other countries. However, if you live in the United States, this was an amazing piece of television, because it just doesn't happen in our Government.

**Video and Transcript is Below**

How the American Congress Works

If you spend anytime watching CSPAN, than you know how our congress works.

Each congressman gets a few minutes to speak, where he parrots his views for the camera. Then, the next congressman gets his few minutes, where he parrots his views to the camera. This goes on for hours, with nothing really getting discussed in any detail and instead, each politician basically screaming his views as loud as he can and moving on. These views are then picked up by the Media, each with its own bias and agenda, and parroted to the country.

As a result, we don't really have real debates in Congress, well not often and certainly not in the public light. Instead, any real discussions are done behind closed doors, if at all, with hundred pages bills being passed without actually being read or truly understood.

President Obama Bucks the Trend

President Obama changed this trend, perhaps borrowing something from the European Government or even from how our government used to be, and actually had an open frank talk with some of his most vocal detractors.

Now, I don't agree with everything Obama has done, in fact there is an awful lot that I don't like about his administration. For example, his stance on privacy is appalling and he seems just as happy to hand billions of dollars to corporations as anyone else in DC. Further, the health care reform, if you can call it that, is a slap in the face to the American Public, although to be fair, this has a lot to do with Congress, perhaps more so than the President.

However, with that said, this type of dialog is what a real government does. Ideas or concerns are presented and then discussed, rather than simply screamed as loud as possible and carried by the Media.

So, I am very impressed with the President's willingness to step into a room full of people who have been openly campaigning against him and honestly answer their questions.

If this type of discussion occurred more often and in front of cameras, the American People would be better off for it. Perhaps it won't change the fact that corporate lobbyists run our government, but it would make it a little harder for our politicians to hide behind their rhetoric, without actually ever having to defend it.

One of the Most Important Quotes

One of, what I feel is the most important quotes of this dialog is below:

OBAMA: I'm not suggesting that we're going to agree on everything, whether it's on health care or energy or what have you, but if the way these issues are being presented by the Republicans is that this is some wild-eyed plot to impose huge government in every aspect of our lives, what happens is you guys then don't have a lot of room to negotiate with me.

I mean, the fact of the matter is is that many of you, if you voted with the administration on something, are politically vulnerable in your own base, in your own party. You've given yourselves very little room to work in a bipartisan fashion because what you've been telling your constituents is, "This guy's doing all kinds of crazy stuff that's going to destroy America."

And I -- I would just say that we have to think about tone.

It's not just on your side, by the way. It's -- it's on our side as well. This is part of what's happened in our politics, where we demonize the other side so much that when it comes to actually getting things done, it becomes tough to do.

This quote really sums up one of the major flaws with our two party system, where people are given a false dichotomy of Republican or Democrat, with each party demonizing each other, when in truth they are more the same than different.

See it For Yourself

I feel that this is something all Americans should watch, as it shows what our government could be if it were more open and honest. Of course it is simply words and has to be backed up by actions, but it is an important step.

I would recommend reading the transcript first, as that way you can read the words, rather than the person.

Transcript: Transcript of Town Hall Meeting

Video: President Obama Congressional Town Hall Meeting

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