A lot of us enjoyed the way Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) dealt with a woman who stood up at one of his town hall meetings, waved a picture of Hitler, and challenged him on his support for the “Nazi” policy. But there’s also another way: answer their questions calmly and discuss the options rationally, as Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) did the other day at the Minnesota State Fair when a bunch of tea-baggers showed up to confront him.
The difference is that the woman at the Frank event wasn’t there to ask a question, she was there to start an argument and incite a confrontation. She wasn’t interested in learning anything. Even though the people at the Minnesota event came loaded for bear, they were at least willing to listen instead of shout, and Sen. Franken was respectful and polite to them, as anyone would be when you’re engaged by people who at least show signs of civility.