“a: Standing or acting for another through
“b: …(c)onstituting a government in which the many
are represented by persons chosen…by election”
It’s no secret an “un-representative” majority of the U.S. Congress doesn’t give two hoots in Hell about what the constituency thinks or expects from their Potomac residency. Despite what the good folks at Merriam-Webster have to say.
That comes as no surprise. But, never has it been so brazenly and gutlessly demonstrated as in recent weeks as the most intellectually vacant and outrageously unfit nominees for a President’s Cabinet were paraded before congressional committees.
Even the most unbiased observer would have to admit the more egregious examples of un-representative votes in those hearings came from Republicans far more than Democrats. In overwhelming numbers, folks at home – voters who elected the un-representatives – told them how they felt on one nominee after another. And, with a consistency rarely found in politics, those elected “un-representatives” – Republicans mostly – ignored them.
It’s widely accepted that, when considering a new President’s appointees, a lot of latitude is given to the Chief Executive to have the crew he wants. Often, this means swallowing hard because of a nominee’s tenuous talents to serve in a particular post. But this batch! Front to back – top to bottom – monied fools whose “leadership” abilities stopped far short of the vaguest qualifications. One, in fact, didn’t know for two days after appointment what his new job would be – believing it was to travel the world to promote this country’s oil and gas industries. A Dallas reporter had to “‘splain it” to him.
But un-representative members of Congress bellied up to the bar to approve everyone that reached the Senate floor.
Idaho had to look no further than Sens. Risch and Crapo to find what voters wanted them to do wasn’t worth a damn. Neither would meet with constituents – wouldn’t talk to them at district offices – wouldn’t come to the phone or return emails. In fact, neither would even make public what the public said about the list of unqualified nominees. Finally, one clerk in Crapo’s employ let slip that opposition to the Dept. Of Education chief was over 95%! Still, you know who ol’ Mike confirmed. Yep, he went with the 5%.
In state after state – district after district – across the nation, members of Congress “holed up.” Wouldn’t meet – wouldn’t talk – wouldn’t be interviewed – wouldn’t answer mail or phones. Some locked office doors – doors voters pay for in federal buildings we own. It was in your face. Our face. Locked doors and unanswered phones.
One flat out lie came from un-Rep. Cathy McMorriss Rogers, the highest ranking woman in the GOP in the House whose home office is in Spokane. She told voters she’d meet last week but only two at a time since the fire marshal had written her that was the most people that could be in her office at once. “Safety,” you know. Except he didn’t write. In fact, he said her office could “safely” handle 30 people.
Two reasons for this chicken-heartedness, I think. First, lobbyists with pockets full of money. Oil and gas people turned on all the money spigots for the new EPA chief, for example. Big bucks flooded in to D.C.. Textbook publishers and private charter school companies trucked in loads of greenbacks for the most unqualified billionaire ever to buy the Secretary of Education’s job. And so it went. Voices of greed outweighed voices of voters and filthy lucre supplanted “the right thing to do.”
Second, our un-representatives – mostly Republican – are scared to death of the President. Terrified of retribution – of having a primary opponent at home – of having their continued employment ended by a guy not worthy of his own elected position. They lack the guts to do their jobs for fear they’ll be violently ripped from the public trough in an act of Trump pique.
It’s doubtful the dollars will stop rolling in. So, there’ll likely be that obstacle between voters and members of Congress until that Citizens United decision is overturned. But, the fear factor may soon be ended. Especially in the Senate. When six or eight members – enough to sway the balance of voting – decide to do what’s right, Trump/Bannon will cease to be an employment or career threat. Then we may begin to see some semblance of independence.
There’s also the possibility a numbers/reality change in that same Senate could lead to a vacancy in the White House. You can already get betting odds in Vegas and Reno on impeachment. And those odds are slipping closer to 50-50 as we go along.
However all that may turn out, there’s a lesson here we voters must not forget. While 2018 is still a ways off – and some members won’t be up for re-election even then – we must remember who the un-representatives are. We need to clearly recall that, when we needed them to do the job we gave them, they didn’t show up. When we, in large numbers, needed to talk to them about what we wanted, they locked their doors and took their phones off the hook.
We were paying them to do their jobs. Others paid them not to.