Once again last week I engaged in one of the most frustrating exercises I have ever engaged in during my lifetime. And I am getting to be quite an old fart.
I often feel like I am pushing a chain up a hill.
What exercise is so frustrating that I’d almost rather drive bamboo strips under my finger nails? Glad you asked. I feel like venting!
Calling any Republican member of congress or the state legislature on almost anything, but especially on upcoming votes.
Calling Grassley and Ernst is especially frustrating because a citizen knows that their votes are already bought and paid for and in the bank for their wealthy donors. Actually that is true for all of Iowa’s Republican congressional delegation. In my case I am fortunate enough not to have to deal with the non-representation from Blum, King or Young.
Last winter we had the added frustration of trying to call or contact our local legislators as they rammed through union busting bills and voter suppression bills while voting to cut educational funding. After an initial response on one issue, my legislators seemed to cut off communication. It wasn’t like I was going to influence their vote anyway.
Every time I pick up the phone or write an email to contact a legislator at any level I think of the study that came out a year or two ago which is cited in the above video. In short the study says that members of congress – I would say based on my experience Republicans in particular – really don’t give two hoots in hell what you or I have to say about the bill.
If we were big donors, though, we would be getting red carpet treatment. And we would be listened to, very intently. There is also a very good chance that we would be successful in lobbying for whatever we wanted.
If there were ever a picture that illustrated exactly what I am talking about it what I refer to as the most obscene photo I have ever seen. Governor Branstad signing the major union busting act in private except for a representative from Americans For Prosperity. AFP is a front group funded by the Koch brothers.
Thus the state legislature ignored a mountain of calls and emails to pass a bill that was meant to please especially only two people who do not even live in Iowa. And our governor had so much disdain for the citizens of our state that he signed the bill only in the presence of the representative from the front group funded by the Koch brothers.
That is about as in your face as it gets when it comes to cynicism.
But don’t give up. Even though you know that calling Grassley and Ernst is spitting into the wind, keep it up. I like to think that it makes them squirm just a little bit every time I call simply because they know that what they are doing is wrong and can’t be justified through any moral system. I like to think that my email or call maybe makes them sleep a little less knowing that what they are doing is hurting the vast majority of Iowans.