Over the past few months, Republican congressional representatives have had to contend with townhalls full of angry constituents. Most of these meetings have concerned Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
However, issues surrounding healthcare aren’t the only ones that are galvanizing voters to come to meetings with their congressional representatives. Another major area of concern is violence against women and, according to the Dallas Morning News, that’s the area that got Joe Barton (R-TX) into trouble.
A constituent at a recent town hall asked the representative why he voted against the Violence Against Women Act:
‘Given your voting record opposing legislation protecting women from violence, will you make a commitment to us today, make a promise that you will reach out to Congresswoman Jackie Speier and work with her to see this bill succesfully through Congress?’
In response to this man’s question, Barton replied that he opposed the bill because he believes that such issues are a matter for the states rather than the federal government. This is a familiar refrain among Republicans and has been used as an excuse to oppose progressive policy at least as far back as the Civil Rights movement.
However, Barton’s answer didn’t sit well with many of his constituents. Shouts and arguing started to break out as one man shouted to Barton that violence against women is an issue that extends far beyond states rights:
‘It’s violence against women, that’s a national issue.That is an issue that impacts everyone everywhere, not only in this country but everywhere.’
Growing frustrated with the the chaos that had broken out at his townhall, Barton tried to restore order and eventually told the man, “you sir, shut up.” Understandably, the man was angry over Barton telling to shut up and he was quick to remind Barton just what his job was:
‘You don’t tell anyone to shut up. You work for us.’
Indeed, based on Barton’s completely rude and unprofessional response, it seems that he has forgotten that as a member of Congress, he is supposed to represent and work for his constituents. Instead, he seemed to be treating them as if he were doing them a favor by meeting with them.
For more information, you can check out the video below:
Featured image via screenshot from Youtube.