In Alabama, protesters took their complaints directly to their elected representative on Monday night. About a dozen people from Occupy Huntsville went to Rep. Mo Brooks’ (R-AL) town hall at a local high school to question the congressman. “There won’t be any protesting, we have no signs,” Mark Jones, an engineer who brought questions for the group to ask, told the Huntsville Times. “We don’t want a fight. We want a level playing field.”
Occupy Huntsville members pressed Brooks on closing corporate tax loopholes and groups that had raised money for Brooks, but others in the 300-plus crowd were hostile toward the questioners:
When the woman began to press her point, the crowd grew noisy, with some shouting “Next!” to get her to step away from the microphone. That scene repeated itself several times throughout the evening as some in line challenged Brooks on his answers.
One of the more confrontational moments came when a man asked about the Gula Graham Group’s fund-raising efforts on Brooks’ behalf.
The man continued to ask Brooks about the organization and the money it raised for him, waving papers while the audience began to loudly object. Brooks at one point asked if there was any way to turn off the man’s microphone so he could finish his response.
While some interaction between Brooks and those asking questions grew argumentative, Brooks encouraged the crowd to take the debate in stride. “This is what a town hall’s all about,” he said. “Just enjoy it.”
The 99 Percent Movement demonstrators have camped out in parks and protested in the streets — even taking over Times Square on the day of global demonstrations — but so far they have not directly questioned members of Congress at town halls like Tea Party members did in 2009 in opposition to health care reform.
But at least Occupy Huntsville got their questions in without being as rudely interrupted as one student. Before the town hall, Brooks met with students at the high school who are taking U.S. government. Jeremy Mock, a senior whose grandmother immigrated from Mexico, questioned Brooks about Alabama’s extreme immigration law:
When Mock began to make a point about the illegal immigrants who had left Alabama after the passage of the state’s tough new immigration law, Brooks interrupted him and broke out in a big grin.
“Isn’t that great,” he said, getting applause from a number of the students.
Previously, Brooks has made it clear he has no compassion for undocumented immigrants, saying June that he would “do anything short of shooting them.” And as the state’s agriculture industry suffers because farmers do not have enough workers to pick crops for harvest now that Hispanic farm workers are fleeing the state, Brooks said that was the goal: “With respect to illegal aliens who are now leaving jobs in Alabama, that’s exactly what we want.”
(by Amanda Peterson Beadle via ThinkProgress)
Wait, folks were heckling Mo Brooks and I didn’t get to join in. Why did I not get an invitation? Oh, probably because if I’d heard that he would be there, I would have asked for someone to please kill me before I had to hear him justify his ignorance.
First of all, I am proud of the Occupy Huntsville people for being the first group to take it to a politician. I would be proud of them if they weren’t from my hometown, but the fact that they are just makes me so joyful.
Secondly, the reason that Mo Brooks had his town hall at that high school (Grissom) is because South Huntsville, particularly the southeastern section where Grissom is located, is the bread and butter area of his entire district. So, he would not have been at Butler or Huntsville because they might be too close to the center of town. (Also, Huntsville is the hippie school.) And he wouldn’t be at Johnson, Lee, New Century, or Columbia because they are all on the north end of town and that would attract the bad (to him; this would be the poor and racially diverse) element. So, he would go to the SE section of town. If anyone is going to donate to his campaign, it will be people in that section of Huntsville. If anyone is going to support taking away rights from or applying harsher penalties to the poor, it will be people in that section of town. Taking on his supporters in that venue is like taking on the Republican Party at CPAC or at the RNC’s Convention or taking on Bachmann, Palin, or Perry at the tin foil hat factory. Going to GHS and taking him on takes true chutzpah and true understanding of the best way to get him a little off-kilter. And getting him off-kilter, given his history of stupidity and bigotry, is the best way to handle good ol’ Mo. He’s more likely to say stupid stuff that way.
Third, because of the reason stated in the previous paragraph, it makes sense that the 300-plus crowd, which is a lot less than that stinky-moldy auditorium can hold, was pro-Mo. They’re his people. They are his version of Jonestown, with him at the center of their day like Jim Jones. Yes, this is why the protesters were met with hostility and this is another reason he wouldn’t go to any other school. He likes being worshipped.