Who Serves Whom?
“No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems — of which getting elected and re-elected are №1 and №2. Whatever is №3 is far behind.” — Thomas Sowell, Economist
A politician’s first priority ought to be to protect the safety, security, and privacy of We the People, who elect them to serve and represent us. Over the past eighteen months, ‘We’ have endured a renewed cycle of Thomas Sowell’s reality as we hear empty promise after empty promise coming from candidates who plan to do little more than get re-elected, then follow through on, what, exactly?
I don’t know either, but I thought I’d take a shot at helping a respected State-level politician with an easy win on what I hoped was his distant №3 priority … that safety, security, and privacy thing. After receiving a GOPAC Education Fund voter-shaming mailer that published voter information including name, address, and recent voting activity, and after they unapologetically doubled-down on their tactic (which their own Finance Manager acknowledged feeling threatened by — in the event I were to return the favor of posting her semi-private information), I contacted that respected State Representative to enlist his support.
Surely, any good politician asking me for my vote would eagerly accept the opportunity to publicly state they disapprove of a voter-shaming tactic that leverages voter semi-privacy, especially when such a statement demonstrated their priority to protect our safety, security, and privacy … and sealed my vote in their favor, right?
My post on that politician’s social media website requested his public anti-shaming statement. Rather than defending our Right to privacy, that politician proved his priority was reelection, and promptly followed up by disrespecting the spirit of the First Amendment and deleted my speech (my request for his support). That very politician then called me and tersely asked what it was that I wanted. He rejected my privacy concern as well as my repeated request that he support my privacy. He claimed he had 80,000 voters and they were focused on getting out the vote. (Note the parallel “get out the vote” intent of the voter-shaming mailer). I expressed my disappointment in his decision and informed him I would be happy to vote for him in exchange for a simple statement posted to his social media account denouncing the voter-shaming tactic. He declined.
He then followed up moments later with a Facebook private message”, writing:
“Let me confirm, you have not yet voted, but will not be voting for Dick Muri? For the record! So I can direct my efforts towards real conservatives.”
Excuse me, Dick, real conservatives? “Real conservatives do NOT stand for the privacy violations of citizens. Would you like me to contact the media with your last statement?,” I asked.
Dick scrabbled back, “Andy, you can do what you want. If defeating Republicans and handing control of the state house to Democrats is your objective, then go right ahead and do what you want.”
Realizing Dick was misrepresenting my position, I clarified “ I have no intention of defeating Republicans, but I have every intention of standing for my Rights. If asking my elected officials to defend those Rights is too much to ask of someone who is elected to serve US, then I will locate a candidate who values my privacy rights. Thank you for your military service.”
It didn’t get any better from there. Dick clearly had no intention of standing up to David Avella and GOPAC, who Dick claimed to not know, and was far more willing to blow off a fellow conservative, and a fellow veteran, than he was to stand against obvious Right versus Wrong.
So, we’ve come to an all too familiar position of enduring politicians who have forgotten who serves who, and who are focused on priorities №1 and №2. We come to a familiar position of pondering whether the Republican party is remotely aware of the reasons why primarily-conservative voters are distancing ourselves from their antics, and digging our heels in for principles — such as Life, Liberty, the Pursuit … and privacy.
Benjamin Franklin noted our Founders had given us a Republic — if we could keep it. I offered my vote to a Republican — and he refused to keep it.
I take no joy in exposing a respected politician’s decision, but much like the constant refrain of “vote for me because I’m not as bad as my opponent,” I’m offered the least of two bad options: play doormat to said politician’s shrug at the breach of our privacy, or be the matador and remind ourselves that politicians are elected to serve us, not vice versa.
So long, Republican party. I’m not leaving you. You’ve left me. While many of your candidates will continue to earn my conservative vote by clearly demonstrating they understand who serves whom, it is not up for bid to the lesser of two poor choices who supposes they’re going to get away with siding with those trying to shame voters by leveraging their own privacy against them. Even Dick Muri still has an opportunity to not-lose my vote by simply making a public statement against GOPAC’s attempt to leverage voter privacy.
I’ll be voting for those who haven’t forgotten their first priority is the safety, security, and privacy of We the People.
The ball is in your court, Dick. I truly hope you choose common sense.
As I informed you on the phone, yesterday, a simple short sentence on your social media platform would be more than enough.