Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Maybe I Should Ask Him If He's Stopped Beating His Wife

In the Federalist Papers, the series of 1787 essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay in support of the proposed new Constitution, Madison wrote, in #57 that the representatives will be true to their constituents for the following reasons:
  1. The people chose these distinguished men to uphold their engagements, so the representatives have an obligation to stand by their words. 
  2. The representatives sense a mark of honor and gratitude feel at least the tiniest affection to these constituents. 
  3. Selfish motives of the human nature bind the representative to his constituents because the delegates hope to seek advancement from his followers rather than the government. 
  4. Also, frequent elections remind the representatives that they are dependent on the constituents for their loyalty and support. Therefore, the representatives are compelled to remain faithful to their constituents. 
  5. The laws created by the legislators will apply to all members of society, including the legislators themselves.
Implicit in all this is the presumption that the representative will be responsive to the citizen's concerns.

As an engaged citizen, I have asked my new (as of this past January) congressman, Don Beyer, a number of questions on issues both of the moment and long-standing, through his twitter account. Here are some of them, with context where necessary. To date, he has not replied to a single one.
  • How do you intend to vote on the #KeystonePipeline? 9 Jan
  • How will this "free" college be paid for? As a taxpayer and VA-8 constituent, I would like to know. 10 Jan (Rep. Beyer had tweeted that "I applaud President @BarackObama and Secretary @arneduncan for their investment in our students.")
  •  Do you believe there should be ANY legal restrictions on abortion? 22 Jan
  • This claim has been completely discredited. Why do you persist in making it?… 29 Jan (he'd tweeted, "#Women are almost 50% of the workforce, breadwinners in 40% of homes, but still only make 77 cents to a man's dollar. That is unacceptable.")
  • Why can I buy auto insurance 365 days/year, but not health insurance? 12 Feb
  • Why can I buy life insurance 365 days/year, but not health insurance? 12 Feb
  • Why can I buy insurance for my smartphone 365 days/year, but not health insurance? 12 Feb
  • Why can I buy home owner's insurance 365 days/year, but not health insurance? 12 Feb
  • What? Are there citizens who are barred from voting? Please explain. 23 Feb (in response to this tweet: "It has been 50 years since the Voting Rights Act was signed - we have come a long way, but we still have much work to do."
  • You're a congressman. Reforming immigration is YOUR job, not the president's. The Constitution gives YOU that power, NOT him. 28 Feb (his tweet: "I voted for short term funding for @DHSgov, the best opportunity to secure funding and keep the President’s immigration reforms in place.")
  • Do you consider @SenatorReid's sleazy land deals that made him rich to be model for elected officials? 27 Mar (his tweet: ".@SenatorReid​ has been a champion for progressive values for decades and a model elected official for generations of leaders to come.") 
  •  Shouldn't company stockholders decide who should be on boards? 19 May (his tweet: "Listening to @repmaloney w @30percentclub Kiersten Salander + @WITWomen Julie Bloecher on why we need #womenonboards")
  • Have you really never heard of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, @RepDonBeyer?… 21 May (his tweet: "We can start by promoting gender equality – paid parental leave, #choice, and #equalpay. #paidleave")
  • Tell us what you did w/$800 billion stimulus money for infrastructure. Then we'll talk. 1 Jun (he wants more money to repair Washington's Arlington Memorial Bridge)
  • $800 billion for "shovel-ready" projects in 2009; only 3.5% of it spent on roads & bridges. Now you come back to us for more? 3 Jun
  • Pls explain what kind of #gunsense law you'd like to propose that would have prevented Charleston shooting. 19 Jun (his tweet: "As a nation we must do better. We must find peace that transcends race, pass #gunsense laws, and work together until we achieve these goals.")
  • Pls provide a link supporting that number. If accurate, wife & I should have gotten a check for about $4,500. 3 minutes ago(in response to this tweet: "In 2014, @EximBankUS returned over $675 billion to the American taxpayers. Let's support Americans and American jobs by passing #ExIm4Jobs.")
In fairness to Congressman Beyer, I've sent a number of these questions to my two United States Senators, Mark Warner and Timothy Kaine, and neither of them has sent me a single reply either. But they represent the entire commonwealth of Virginia, whereas Congressman Beyer represents only my portion of northern Virginia.

Yes, some of my questions are snarky. But a good many of them are quite serious, asking  him his positions on serious policy questions that affect the entire country.

Maybe he's waiting for me to send him a campaign contribution before he deigns to answer to an insignificant insect such as I.

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