Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. - Winston Churchill.
Democracy played out on a small scale at West Hartford Town Hall on Monday, with members of the public weighing in to U.S. Rep. John Larson on what they believe should be the response, if any, to the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government against its own people.
Mr. Churchill would likely have agreed that Monday’s forum was perhaps a messy affair, with numerous viewpoints, from those supporting a limited air strike, to those opposing any intervention, to those even saying that Syrian rebels staged the chemical attacks to draw the U.S. and other countries into the 2.5-year civil war.
But regardless of the position taken, perhaps the most remarkable outcome of the forum - which overflowed into the hallways and adjacent offices - was the civil discourse.
The beauty lay in the widely divergent opinions being made with no repercussions, other than the occasional applause in support or groan in disagreement.
“I’m proud of the citizens who have come out today,” Larson said. “I hold a lot of these [forums]. I am learning a lot.”
Larson stopped short of saying what plan of action he would support when Congress reconvenes on Sept. 9.
But many of his constituents left satisfied in knowing that they had said their piece and made their case to their Congressman.“I thought that it was great,” said West Hartford resident Laura Ahrens. “I appreciate that John Larson took the time to listen to people in his district.”