A disappointing town hall with Congressman Tom Cole

Congressman Tom Cole. NBC News.

An Op-Ed by Emma Rose Kraus
Journalism Intern

Congressman Tom Cole, Oklahoma Representative, spoke at a town hall at noon today at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in Chickasha, Oklahoma, a 45 minute drive from the larger, more central city of Norman.

College students, faculty, and other constituents not associated with the college came to hear Cole speak on matters ranging from healthcare to the national budget, and after spending an afternoon listening to the congressman explain federal spending and the creation of bills in the legislature, aptly avoiding any question thrown his way by giving lessons in the fundamentals of federal budgeting, I feel as if I have been forced to rewatch Schoolhouse Rock! for the umpteenth time, without any of the friendly animation or catchy tunes.

Congressman Cole, asked by one woman how he was planning to address the misinforming of students on the subject of global warming in schools, decided it would be appropriate to credit energy companies’ switch from coal to natural gas as lowering carbon emissions. He had to be asked by multiple people to answer the questions he was being asked.

When I questioned what the government was planning to do about the laws directed at transgender children he responded that “attacks”, as I put it, on minority communities were “not the American way.”

He went on to tell an unrelated anecdote about his son before the crowd finally got him back on track. Finally, after being asked if the, “federal government should intervene when states rights are interfering with human rights,” Cole responded by stating, “The government does intervene.”

He continued on to explain to me the Civil Rights Movement and its historical importance; not addressing my question in the slightest, which was about children being able to use the bathroom at their own schools, by the way.

This was frustrating, not because Cole is obtuse by nature, but because he was deliberately misunderstanding the questions of his constituents and therefore wasting the time of all who sacrificed their lunch hours to ask him to give them the respect and courtesy of his attention and concern.

These things could be seen when he spoke on Alzheimer's disease, an important issue to him, but much of the time, unfortunately, he spent dodging the important and concerned questions of his constituency.

Copyright 2017 The Gayly - 4/12/2017 @ 8:24 p.m. CDT