Last week’s field hearing of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands in Sacramento demonstrated all that is wrong with public discourse in America. Rather than being a genuine fact-finding, problem-solving venture, it proved to be nothing more than political theater.
Republicans control the subcommittee, and they stacked the witness list with people and groups whose positions reflect their own legislative goals. Only one panelist represented a divergent viewpoint — and the highly partisan audience booed him. Even so, just two of the subcommittee’s 13 Republican members bothered to show for the hearing, and none of the Democratic members attended. Before you think we’re bashing Republicans, let us say that this is par for the course; had Democrats controlled the committee, the proceeding would have erred in the other direction.