Being viral is something that in the 21st century is natural and common. The Internet and social media culture have overtaken the way we act and communicate with people all over the world. However, now that the fate of public health depends on it, being virtual has become one of the main struggles for Americans and people all over the world. I was able to successfully attend Joe Kennedy’s Virtual Town Hall meeting.
Never, until three weeks ago, did I ever use programs such as Zoom and Google Classroom, so like everyone else, it seemed intimidating. Joe Kennedy is the 4th Congressman for Congress and has been campaigning for a seat in the House. In his campaign trail through Massachusetts and the Great New England area by hosting town hall events. However, amid COVID-19 and the push for harsh social distancing measures, being able to host these meetings has proven especially difficult. Social distancing requires for you to avoid being in large crowds as well as staying the recommended six feet away from a person. To combat this, Joe Kennedy has been hosting virtual meetings through Zoom.
This virtual town meeting was the eighth one on his trail, hosting Middlesex residents, with voting slowly approaching, it is, even more, to appeal and connect to your supporters and especially the unaffiliated voters than can still be swayed. Joe Kennedy hosted an hour-long brief on the only coronavirus related questions, also with the help of Dr. Karen Freund and Gerly Adrien to serve as experts on the panel to have more representation. It was great to see this town meeting come to life and be taken seriously and approached with urgency as a good way to keep democracy moving, even though we physically cannot. It also seemed interesting to me that doing virtual events was something that we can do under pressure, so what other systems are “non-essential” that democracy has decided is important to civil liberty? One of the issues that Kennedy is advocating for is mail-in voting for the upcoming primary. Countless cities and counties have been postponing scheduled voting days to keep people less exposed than being at home. The way that we will vote will forever be changed because of the need for social distancing.
In terms of how Joe Kennedy will follow social distancing going forward, it seems apparent that he will waste no time in stopping his campaigning and instead will help to get people to get up to speed on how to stay connected even more digitally. Joe Kennedy took the time to hear people’s concerns and questions on safety, latest trends in cases and unemployment payment concerns. Even though Joe Kennedy is the last person who has concrete information and certainty about what the state of our world will be in the next few weeks. He along with Dr. Freund and Gerly Adrien were able to acknowledge the concerns brought up, but the main takeaway is that there are not that many answers but the ability to listen to worries and acknowledge people’s fears is worth a lot more now more than ever. It is worth it now for Joe Kennedy to continue addressing people in the same manner as he was physically traveling, as it is to talk to people through their devices. Nearly 120 people were in attendance online and there was a high level of back and forth questioning between Kennedy and the viewers.
Who knows how much longer we will be stuck in the house and having to host Zoom birthday parties – I want to wear jeans soon too. It, however, is a prime time to see what America is made for, the way that we can all adjust and adapt to being solely virtual and digital now will be able for society and democracy to grow into areas that maybe had seemed too radical before now. Joe Kennedy hosted an informative and easy town hall meeting for the town of Middlesex and was able to successfully continue his campaign without even having to step outside of his house. What other areas can have such a dramatic change in our governments?