These people are behaving so badly, it is hard to fathom.
Public servants who refuse to serve the public, leaders who refuse to lead, legislators who refuse to make coherent laws that reflect the will of a majority of their constituencies; they are all stunning.
Literally stunning, in the sense that we are ‘so astonished as to be temporarily unable to react,’ and ‘knocked unconscious or into a dazed or semi-conscious state.’ The danger of course is if we fail to regain consciousness. We must make certain that any inability to react on our part is temporary. We must respond and stay awake, as best we can, in the face of all this incredible (literally: ‘impossible to believe’) chicanery.
A man who has been elected president of the United States of America does not understand the different roles of the three branches of our government, refuses to reveal his tax returns to the American public, and persistently fails to address his own ongoing financial conflicts of interest. A man who has been approved to serve as our Attorney General lied, under oath, to Congress. A political strategist with no foreign policy experience, who brazenly espouses an anarchistic and white supremacist agenda, has been named to sit on the Principals’ Committee of our National Security Council. This is a small sampling of the offensive and perilous behaviors taking place in Washington, DC. Each instance merits serious investigation by Congress.
What do our representatives make of all this? It is difficult to detect any alarm or concern on their part. Our House representative’s district director told constituents recently that the Congressman “never” plans to hear from constituents in a town hall meeting. So far our Representative Budd has voted in lock-step with reactionary repeals of many ‘Obama era regulations.’ He has voted to let coal waste be dumped into streams. He has voted to let people who suffer debilitating enough mental illness that they must collect Social Security rather than work buy firearms with no restrictions. We would have hoped a gun store owner who wants to be a public servant would bring with him an understanding that “people deemed unfit to handle their own affairs” might belong on the national background check database.
Our Senator Burr proactively supported all of the current president’s cabinet nominees. Burr explicitly expressed his enthusiasm for this uniquely unqualified cadre of public officials, after participating in the stonewall of a completely qualified Supreme Court nominee and multiple other judicial appointments under the previous administration. We continue to hope that in Senator Burr’s role as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he will show integrity and independence investigating foreign interference with the recent campaign and the current administration.
And Senator Tillis? Our Senator Tillis supported all the cabinet nominees, while his staff told callers every single day up to each confirmation vote that ‘the Senator has not made up his mind yet.’ Senator Tillis has refused to meet with constituents in a town hall meeting, preferring private visits because, according to his office, “it has become apparent that some individuals, who are not really interested in meaningful dialogue, attend town halls just to create disruptions and media spectacles.” Can you really not rise above your perceived threat of a ‘disruption,’ to meet with the people you represent and discuss serious concerns about threats to our democratic system of government? You do not simply represent the people who agree with each of your positions or are able to pay for your company, Senator. Let’s actually have the dialogue before any of us judge whether it is meaningful.
Then today, suddenly, a press release from Senator Tillis‘ office announced a “Tele Town Hall” to be held within about an hour’s time, today. The “Tele Town Hall” was at 6pm. It was not listed under ‘meetings’ on the Senator’s website this afternoon. Not sure what a ‘Tele Town Hall’ is? The Tillis notice explained it as: “a conversation with North Carolinians about important issues facing our state and country.” Here’s what is really was: click a link to submit your question in email to the Senator’s website, then click a different link to “listen in” while the Senator spoke to whichever questions he had selected to answer. In no universe was it a conversation. The press release claims: “We are working toward holding telephone town halls in every county in the state.” There is no clarification of which county was supposed to be the focus in this particular town hall, announced with one hour’s notice on the Senator’s own site. Stay tuned?
Senator Tillis said again this week he is “not sure” whether he will run for re-election in 2020. If he continues to rubber stamp an incompetent administration, choose party over country, and refuse to meet with constituents across the political spectrum, we are pretty sure we know whether we want him back.