Monday, December 13, 2010

An Open Letter to Governor Chris Christie

The Honorable Christopher J. Christie
Office of the Governor
PO Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625

Dear Governor Christie:

I am writing with respect to the "Town Hall" meetings you have been conducting across the state.

It is a common misperception that the attendees at these events are pre-screened and your supporters are given preferential treatment for admission. I know for a fact this is not true. I am a registered Democrat, and was not subjected to any political or ideological litmus test for admission to a recent event.

The reason, I believe, for this misperception, is that these events are always held in the daytime, making it difficult for anyone other than retired persons to attend. That these events are usually held in towns with a predominantly white population makes the demographic look very much like the Glen Beck rally at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 2010.

I recommend that you consider holding some of your Town Hall meetings in the evenings, and in places like Camden, Elizabeth, Jersey City, and elsewhere, where you can get your message to a far more diverse crowd.

I also recommend that you scrap the "YouTube Moment" meme when inviting citizens to ask questions, and engage them in civil discussion, rather than berating them for the benefit of the camera. Having your State Police bodyguard manhandle a questioner, bring him up to the stage, scold and rail at him, then have the officer remove the citizen from the stage, without giving him the opportunity to respond, may make for entertaining television, but it is no way to govern.

It is also in direct contradiction to your repeated admonitions that "there is nothing left unsaid between us".

If you wish to get your message out to anyone other than the usual amen chorus that predominate your Town Halls, I suggest that you expand the demographic scope of the audience and engage in real discussion of ideas. Otherwise, you cannot expect to win the hearts and minds of anyone in your opposition, not one.


Jeffrey R. Pickens

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