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„Obama Lies, Grandma Dies“, „Obamahdinejad“  or „euthanasia bill“ are slogans you find on protest poster angry people hold up at town hall meetings, where the US health care reform is debated.  In general, everybody in a community is invited to attend Town Hall meetings to discuss political issues with elected officials. Such meetings are usually seen as a good way of giving voice to people in decision-making, therefore making politics more democratic by enhancing its input legitimacy. That is why social scientists like to take it as an example for studying public deliberation and discursive participation.  But in the current health care debate, there is not a lot of deliberation taking place. Instead, you see an explosion of emotions, fierce resistance and conflict. Mailing-lists and websites give advice on how to best disrupt those meetings. Here are some examples:

“The objective is to put the rep [representative] on the defensive with your question and follow-up. The rep should be made to feel that a majority, and if not, a significant portion of at least the audience, opposes the ‘Socialist agenda’ in Washington…If he blames Bush for something or offers other excuses – call him on it, yell back and have someone else follow-up with a shout-out.” (rightprinciples)

anti Health care reform protest

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The Book

Governance across borders: transnational fields and transversal themes. Leonhard Dobusch, Philip Mader and Sigrid Quack (eds.), 2013, epubli publishers.
September 2022
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