I’m always open to trying new things. Partly because that’s just how I am, but also because of the conscious belief that stretching oneself beyond his or her comfort zone can lead to anything. From a realization that you’ve found a new treasure of life to enjoy, to finding revelations about our existence, to finding new ways to view our life and reality, a new experience is worth trying.
It is with this desire to try new things that I joined Moveon.org and the “Rebuild the American Dream” movement. The past two weeks, we have gone to local congressmen’s offices to confront the staff about their boss’ stance on issues that we feel really matter when it comes to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness as proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence. We progressives believe that Republicans in general, have been pursuing an agenda that destroys these “inalienable rights.”
Hence, we went to Representative Darrell Issa’s office in Vista on Tuesday, August 2, 2011. I actually delayed some customer work in order to make it to this protest which, after all, is the beginning of a movement that I hope and believe will whip up this country into a frenzy. The frenzy that is required to push many in congress to finally make the bold, smart decisions they themselves have delayed for years. Decisions like providing healthcare for all (and saving money by doing this), swinging the pendulum back to a fairer tax system, and giving every American a support structure to live their dream.
Anyway, the only way to start a movement like this is for people to show up. And being a “people” I needed to be there.
We entered the Congressman’s office in two groups 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 (crossed arms by Phil Paule) in welcoming us. During my group visit, one protester began by thanking Mr. Paule and Mr. Franklin for their public service. But the conversation quickly turned loud and argumentative. 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.
While in the midst of rising condescension from Mr. Franklin, one protester tried to remind him that Congressman Issa represents all of his constituents. Mr. Franklin replied that Rep. Issa does not represent all of the constituents in his district, and he DOESN’T NEED TO. Mr. Franklin further stated that “Rep. 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.”
Whoa! I am so pissed off at my third grade teacher who taught me that we elect representatives to go to Washington D.C. to represent all their constituents.
Wow, now I know how the country is run and I am a much wiser man.
Photos Provided by Sean Rowland.