A town hall meeting in Oroville, California on Monday did not go the way Republican Rep. Doug LaMalfa had likely hoped. In fact, it was a raging dumpster fire, marked by nearly constant outbursts from attendees who repeatedly shouted over the congressman's attempts to respond to questions, getting so bad at one point that he walked off stage. But one high schooler who attended the event at least partly redeemed the regrettable example of "civil discourse" by demonstrating that there is actually hope for the next generation.
CBS Sacramento, which first reported the train wreck of a town hall, states that the "boos and shouts of displeasure" started before LaMalfa had even spoken a word. The shouts and jeers continued for "nearly two hours," with the congressman often barely able to even begin his answers, not to mention getting all the way through a response.
The key reason for most of the vitriol, the Oroville Dam, "was brought up just once," CBS notes. "One man asked a question about why nothing was done sooner to the emergency spillway. LaMalfa’s answer was cut short by the crowd."
A few other highlights from the raucous meeting via CBS13:
"Do you yell at church?" LaMalfa asked the crowd at one point. That comment was met with intense booing and shouts of "Do you lie in church?"
After fielding several questions and hearing comments on a range of issues, LaMalfa moved on to healthcare where he struggled through a PowerPoint presentation. His narration was hard to follow as shouts continued from the crowd.
At one point. the congressman walked off stage, returning a few moments later to finish his presentation amidst the noise.
CBS spoke to some attendees after the painful event. One LaMalfa supporter said she was "appalled" by the hecklers' actions."You can disagree, but you can be decent to each other," she said.
One critic of the congressman said LaMalfa "really didn’t care what everyone thought. He had a closed mind."
But the best response of the evening came form a 16-year-old high schooler, Greyson Reynolds, who shamed the room full of people who were supposed to be more mature than him.
"I think the immaturity is astounding," said the teen, who had come hoping to experience civil society in action and thank the congressman for visiting his school to answer questions.
"Night and day," Reynolds said, comparing the adult town hall with the high school Q&A with LaMalfa.
"It’s hard to believe that these people are grown adults and those people, the people at my high school are children. You’d think it was the opposite," he said.
Well done, sir.