By Representative Dan Lungren
Civility: I have always believed that a member of Congress should be accessible to his or her constituents.
Every year, I host multiple town hall discussions in our district and have conducted 11 telephone town halls in the last year. Town halls are a valuable opportunity for me to stand in front of the people I represent and hear firsthand their thoughts and concerns. The topics I hear range from local case work to national issues.
Recently, I hosted three town hall discussions in our area: Elk Grove, Folsom, and Carmichael. During these discussions certain individuals, some from our area and some from as far as San Francisco, tested the very meaning of what it means to be civil. Protesting is one thing -- I support anyone that wants to have their views heard in a public setting- but shouting your opposition down simply because you do not agree with their point of view is unacceptable and does nothing to find solutions to our problems.
I have never had a problem debating issues with people who want to participate in constructive conversation. It is unfortunate that certain people attended these recent town halls only to disrupt and intimidate my district office staff.
This sort of behavior does nothing to address the important issues we face.
Open and honest debate is essential to our democracy and vital in decision-making. I understand that when we debate issues affecting our community and our country, it can and will elicit the deepest emotional responses. The same can be said when our core beliefs are challenged by an opposing point of view.
I support a passionate exchange of ideas, but it is important to understand that we must treat each other with a mutual respect while we engage in these debates.
This is the very essence of tolerance.
Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Gold River) represents Elk Grove in the 3rd Congressional District.