Pickin’ Cot­ton

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - EDITORIAL PAGE -

BE­LIEVE it or not, not all meet­ings have to be bor­ing. For proof, see the town hall gath­er­ing that Tom Cot­ton held Wed­nes­day in Spring­dale. Talk about a ram­bunc­tious democ­racy! What a coun­try!

Af­ter some bad press and per­haps a mis­un­der­stand­ing or three, the ju­nior U.S. se­na­tor from Arkansas met with a rowdy crowd semi-led by folks who tried to set up an ear­lier meet­ing. Dis­patches said Wed­nes­day night’s venue had to be changed un­til ev­ery­body agreed on Spring­dale High’s the­ater, which seats 2,000.

And, boy, was the lit­tle the­ater hop­ping. It warms the inky heart to know that folks are this in­ter­ested in gov­ern­ment. But we do wish when good Arkansans and Amer­i­cans get to­gether like this, and a se­na­tor—or any public ser­vant—puts him­self on stage to an­swer ques­tions, that the crowd al­lows him to ac­tu­ally an­swer.

Con­stant shout­ing, boo­ing, in­ter­rupt­ing, laugh­ing, call­ing names and chant­ing are . . . great! If at a demon­stra­tion in this still free coun­try. But when a body goes to a town hall to hear a politi­cian ex­plain him­self, or try to, it’d be bet­ter to show some man­ners. That way the loyal op­po­si­tion doesn’t turn off folks who may be watch­ing on­line or read­ing about it in the pa­pers the next day.

One per­son who did come out smelling like a rose was: a se­na­tor named Tom Cot­ton. He knew he was head­ing to a protest against him and all things Trump. Yet he not only showed up, he in­vited a mem­ber of Ozark In­di­vis­i­ble on the stage. And even though the crowd was un­ruly at times, and a few folks were down­right rude, he tried to an­swer them po­litely and he ex­tended his time on stage to take even more abuse. Some of us more grumpy types might have called the crowd out on its lack of man­ners. Not Tom Cot­ton. He was po­lite to the last minute.

Wed­nes­day night was a good ex­am­ple of what’s still great about the world’s great­est democ­racy. We only wish we could have heard more of it over the shout­ing.

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