I am intrigued by the “town hall” meetings that citizens are staging.

Recent news broadcasts have been fascinating as they document a new kind of people power. Local public officials, state legislators and heads of departments, and United States Senators and members of the United States House of Representatives are featured — as they attend public meetings with their constituents. Citizens are creating events, and inviting officials to attend.

These events appear to be well-organized, well-run, and well-attended. They provide opportunities for many people — including the public officials — to speak. Even more importantly, they provide opportunities for citizens to listen and to learn.

I think that everybody wants to be heard, and I am happy that there are forums for expression of opinions. I believe that we need a lot more information about past events and current proposals, as we make decisions about candidates for political office — and about the occasional referenda — that make their way onto our ballots. We, the people, are powerful — we have authority and responsibility. We should take this role seriously.

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” Alice Walker