Thursday night one of Ann Marie Buerkle’s people called me and asked me to hold the line for a telephone town meeting. I don’t know if you have ever participated or listened to one of these but usually the assistant makes a list of questions and names and then the Congressperson calls on people to ask his/her question. Until your name is called (which it may never be) you hang on the phone and listen to questions and answers.
This town meeting was a bit different because all of the people hanging on to the phones were people who sent advice about the debt ceiling and the various debt deals by email or fax to Ms. Buerkle’s office. I find this a very frustrating town meeting format because the Congressperson always has the last word. There is no rebuttal.
So as each person took her/his turn and gave the reasons why they did not want any of the solutions being offered at this time, as each person made very persuasive arguments about jobs, tax codes, budget cuts, and raising taxes or ending subsidies, Ms. Buerkle always got to speak last. Each time she reiterated her credo that government regulations are the reason we don’t have jobs, that Obama has never suggested a plan (which I believe we know is not true because a deal was almost reached) and that the mean Democrats won’t vote for cut, cap and balance or for John Boehner’s plan. It was very hard to sit and listen to her criticize the President and the Senate and paint the House of Representatives as full of saints. I hung up after 45 minutes and before I had my turn because I could see how this was going. No matter what I said Ms. Buerkle would just use her turn as a time to repeat the Republican Party line, which I have heard quite enough of, thank you please. I’m not a talker anyway, I’m a writer.
What I would like to say to Representative Buerkle is that she was elected by people who thought they were fed up with the status quo. They would have elected whoever was not already in power. Some of us, a lot of us did not sign up for Ann Marie Buerkle’s America. America belongs to all of us. Now that Ms. Buerkle is in office she is supposed to listen to her constituents, not browbeat (however politely) her constituents. She has to represent us all. I do not have faith that she knows enough economics to find her way out of our current financial situation. She better be awfully sure she is absolutely right if she is just going to push through her agenda. That’s not the way America works and she knows it. That’s why there are checks and balances, that’s why compromise keeps America on a more or less even keel. I still want Congress and the President to raise the debt ceiling now, with no conditions whatsoever. Then we can deal with all the rest of this.