Freedom of Speech 2

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Second Canterbury Front Row

The town meeting, the New England town meeting, is a master image of democratic processes in the United States.[12] It is no surprise that contemporary politicians have used the sheen of its format to describe their own communication events. What is now called the ‘town hall meeting’ is a fixture in the arsenal of community events that candidates and elected officials hold with citizens. Unlike the town meetings in places like Arlington, Vermont, where Rockwell lived at the time he painted ‘Freedom of Speech,’ however, the modern-day campaign events are often highly controlled question-and-answer exchanges. At the town meetings in Arlington the back and forth between officials and citizens is a prelude to a decision that will be made at that meeting. In the contemporary versions staged by political staff, as was recently clear in the health care debates in town hall meetings held by congressional representatives during the summer of 2009,[13] any decision making about a policy is a project for some vague, uncertain, future date.