We hate meta. But sometimes in the course of blogging…
Representative Vicky Hartzler (r) held a campaign event in Warrensburg yesterday evening. I attended so you didn’t have to. Actually, it wasn’t very clear from the newspaper blurb under community announcements in the previous night’s paper and the advertisement (without a disclaimer) in last night’s paper that it was a campaign event. There were campaign signs stacked outside and inside the ABC Building, where the event was held, when I arrived. It was then very clear that it was a campaign event.
Representative Vicky Hartzler (r), at a campaign event in Warrensburg – August 22, 2014.
See, we do post photos that most public figures would consider to be aesthetically valid and a positive representation.
We always wear our blog photo IDs – that’s so people at the events we attend are under notice that we’re there and we’re covering what’s happening. It also means that everything is on the record. And that on the record thing? If you don’t want it on the record, don’t talk to us.
I keep a digital recorder running at all times (past experience is a good teacher).
Last night I walked in with my gear about fifteen or twenty minutes before the start time. I got some confused looks and halfhearted greetings. A few minutes after I walked in a campaign staffer politely asked me who I was. I told him (for the second time). He stated that it was a private event – I could stay, but if I disrupted it I would be asked to leave. Apparently because Show Me Progress is a lefty blog. I asked him if he read us. He replied that he didn’t read our coverage of Representative Hartzler, but he had read other things (see the logic in their world?). I told him that the announcements didn’t make it clear that it was a private event. Actually, the quarter page newspaper ad stated, “Please Join us for an Ice Cream Social with Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler!” and “There will be an opportunity to Meet and Visit with Congresswoman Hartzler to ask questions and get feedback in a fun and casual setting! We hope to see you there!” There was no disclaimer on the ad. The staffer did invite me to have some ice cream.
We have never disrupted any of the many of Representative Hartzler’s events we have attended nor acted in anything but a professional manner. We have posted video, photos, and meticulous transcripts of what has transpired at Representative Hartzler’s congressional events. That probably doesn’t endear us to Representative Hartzler (r) or her staff.
Just the same, Representative Hartzler and her staff have always been polite to us when we show up. Okay, there was that one time in Buffalo, Missouri and that was early on and just one person, right after the Sedalia town hall video went viral.
Last night Representative Hartzler (r) worked the room, greeting those in attendance. She did politely say hello to me, and then moved on to the next person.
There haven’t been open public town halls with Representative Hartzler (r) in this area of the district in numbers comparable to 2012. That’s a polite way of saying “none” or close to it. Yet, this event was essentially a town hall, it’s just that it was a “private” (campaign) event. If you were deemed to be disruptive by your demeanor you would be asked to leave. That’s not exactly conducive to an open and free (and public) exchange of opinions and ideas with your elected representatives.
I was not the only individual in the room who was given a warning:
Campaign staffer: Hey, how’s it going?
Constituent: Howdy. And you are who?
Campaign staffer: I’m [….], I’m from, with the campaign. Um, I just want to let you know, um, you’re welcome to, uh, have ice cream, you’re welcome to stay. Um, it is a private event, though, so if you’re, I know you’re not a fan of Vicky, which is fine, um, but if you’re disruptive we’ll ask you to leave. So, that’s it. I mean, you’re, you’re welcome to stay. Everybody’s welcome. Um, but just don’t, you know, be [inaudible] or something like that. That’s it, so. But, you’re…
Constituent: And your name’s what again?
Campaign staffer: [….], I’m with the campaign.
Constituent: How do you know me?
Campaign staffer: I don’t actually, but some other people know you and you’ve got a Recall Vicky sign and all that, so.
Constituent: Yeah, that’s right.
Campaign staffer: And you’re, you’re welcome to come.
Constituent: I tell you, would you like to have a seat and visit?
Campaign staffer: Sure.
And they did have a conversation.
If I had been asked to leave I would have. It was a campaign event, not a congressional one. And I’d still have interesting audio.
I acted as I always do – in as unobtrusive manner as I can as I photographed the goings on from a distance, and I was able to stay for the entire event. Apparently I wasn’t disruptive.
I did get to meet the guy who put up the homemade “Recall Vicky” sign along Highway 13 in rural Johnson County.
Oh, I didn’t have any ice cream.