As the economy sinks deeper, some people are motivated to become politically active in causes that matter to them. One of those people is Dave Peiser, who recently joined Moveon.org in its effort to confront mostly GOP congress members on issues that matter when it comes to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. As Peiser puts it, “We progressives believe that Republicans in general have been pursuing an agenda that destroys these “inalienable rights.”
Peiser and a Moveon group waited on Representative’s Darryl Issa in Vista on Tuesday, August 2 to protest what they believe are wrong directions that he happens to support.
The group entered the Congressman‘s office with signs proclaiming our concerns and disagreements with Republican policies and pledges. Two staff members, District Director Phil Paule and Senior Policy Advisor, John B. Franklin stood at the office entrance “and were almost cordial” in welcome. After protetors thanking Mr. Paule and Mr. Franklin for their public service, the conversation quickly turned loud and argumentative. As Peiser recalls, “Unfortunately our words to the staff were merely bouncing off them; not really being listened to as input to the congressman’s thoughts on issues. Thus, here is where the democracy lesson comes.”
A protestor reminded Franklin that Issa is in office to represent all of his constituents. At that point, Franklin let Issa’s cat out of the bag by replying that Issa “does not need to” represent all the constituents in his district. Franklin’s next line; “Issa was elected by a majority of his constituents who agree with his views and if you don’t agree, there’s an election in 2012,” summed up that Representative’s approach to both power and the public.
Going nowhere, in the usual direction of such confrontational meetings, it is hardly surprising that the protest soon broke up with nothing being accomplished; this after the usual veiled threats by staff about calling security, arrests and other expressions of naked power against individuals exercising their rights to be heard. What it says about Issa speaks volumes of the Representative’s ignorance in choosing staff with whom to interact with the public and of the Representative’s presumed views about whom he’s working for.
It is a common misconception indulged in by the dishonest and ignorant that only those who voted for a candidate matter following an election’s outcome. This idea has not found favor in the broad American history of politics for very good reason—if the concept became commonly accepted, it would bring complete anarchy to the soon-to-be destroyed system. Anyone could simply say that if they didn’t vote for an incumbent they were not bound by anything that incumbent did while in office.
It would also mean that no constituent who failed to vote for a Congress member who brought new economic benefit to his region should be able to use it, either. Didn’t support that new highway? Take the surface streets—after all, you voted against it, didn’t you?
Even a child in the third grade who had made it that far into his or her educational career by understanding how to follow rules might be expected to see the failure of that idea. It is a great and grim surprise that any staffer of any sitting Congressman should be so fantastically ignorant of basic Civics that he would say that his boss had no duty to the minority share of American citizenry from his district without first having first drunk too much gin.
Such failed concepts echo the failed ideas of a pre-Civil War Supreme Court Justice who infamously said that blacks have no rights the white man is bound to respect. A lot of changes have happened in the US since the late 1850’s and it is a mark of failure against Issa that he would tolerate anyone on his staff so backward in his knowledge of American governance and so willing to make it plain.
Never the less, the concept seems to have found growing favor among Republicans, especially since the administration of GW Bush who early in his presidency referred to his supporters as “good Americans” while ignoring others. Issa presumably follows this same idea. He did not return contacts from this newspaper prior before press time and it is perhaps likely that since its offices are not in his district he has no need to interact with anyone outside his favored circles.
We suggest to Franklin and Issa that high school was a very long time ago, and that remedial classes in American political structure are in order. No one supports anarchy and those who want a better America should be the last to champion that lost cause, even by default.