I’m a believer in first impressions. Whatever I think of a person from the start will likely color anything they do beyond that point, good or bad. Rarely do I change my mind on that.
I attended a town hall meeting with my Congressman over the weekend. Considering that he was a previous governor of my state, caught up in a scandal that involved an affair with an Argentinian woman and a lie about hiking the Appalachian Trail, yes, I had some preconceived notions about him. However, I pride myself on having an open mind, so I listened and observed. I didn’t expect to like him, but by the time I left, I kind of did.
Because he listened. Everyone had a chance to ask questions, and he answered all of them. Maybe not with the answers I wanted to hear, but he answered. He took notes on some questions. He instructed his aides to take the information of particular people, so he could follow up with them with more information. He didn’t talk down to anyone, and he seemed to understand that he’s representing people and has an obligation to them. There was no vetting of the people attending. There was no requirement to submit questions beforehand. It was completely unrehearsed and unrestricted.
I didn’t always *like his answers, but I felt like I was heard, and in a time when so many feel like their representatives are ignoring them, that matters.