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What we’re reading: Standing up to congress

Photo: / AFSC

As Congress headed back to their districts for their recess, thousands of angry constituents across the country attended local "town halls" to make their voices heard. Both Democrats and Republicans are facing strong criticisms for their failure to take positive actions to protect human rights and the environment. Here's what we’re reading to learn more:


Watch these videos of furious voters holding Republicans accountable at town halls across America, by Katherine Krueger via Fusion

"It's not unusual for senators and congressmen to return to their home districts to hold town halls or listening sessions when Congress isn't in session. These days, though, they're being greeted by protesters who are packing the meeting halls to forcefully hold their elected Republicans accountable, with crowds so big that they often spill outside."


Fair game: The resistance puts pressure on complicit Democrats, by Michael Corcoran via Truthout

"The shock and awe of Trump's presidency is no doubt a central reason for the nation's collective anger and organized discontent. Democrats, however, would be wise to remember that what has come to be known as "the Resistance" did not spring up from nowhere the day Trump was sworn in as president. The Sanders campaign, the ongoing Movement for Black Lives and the Occupy movement, for example, grew well beyond expectations and emphasized structural problems that both parties were complicit in. With so much at stake, and armed with an increased consciousness of interlocking issues of class, race, gender, and more, activists are taking action."


Louisiana senator's town hall goes completely off the rails, by Aviva Shen via Think Progress

"Cassidy later told reporters this was the first time he had seen more than a hundred people at a town hall. The first-term senator, like many of his colleagues in Congress, is facing protests over his support of President Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees and his party's agenda — in particular their plan to roll back health care reform, potentially leaving millions of Americans suddenly uninsured."


GOP lawmakers duck town halls, but still make time to meet with campaign donors by Lee Fang and Nick Surgey via The Intercept

"By contrast, the fundraising events underscore the immutable reality in a money-driven Congress that donors have priority over regular constituents. A 2015 study by academics Joshua Kalla and David Broockman found that members of Congress are 231 percent more likely to hold meetings with individuals who have contributed money to their campaigns than those that have not."


"What We’re Reading" is a weekly feature on AFSC’s News and Commentary blog, where we share a curated collection of recent articles on timely issues. "What We're Reading" is meant to spark discussion, debate, and knowledge sharing, and the articles we highlight do not necessarily reflect the official organizational positions of AFSC. We encourage you to tell us what you're reading on these issues in the comments below.