Sunday, July 26, 2009

Rep. Martin Heinrich's career ending blunder.

I was listening to the Jim Villanucci show and the discussion about public health care. Callers were encouraging listeners to call their Representatives to voice their opinions on the issue.

The unstated but obvious belief is that, if an overwhelming number of constituents want their representative to vote in a particular way, the representative is obliged to follow their constituents expressed will. That belief is mistaken.

The United States of America is a republic, not a democracy.

If we were a true democracy, citizens would themselves, vote directly on every issue. Even in the internet age, the problems associated with that process would be enormous. Also, the founding fathers appreciated the need to be able to overrule mob sentiment. Recognizing those issues, the founding fathers created a republic, rather than a true democracy.

Never the less, people believe that their representatives, though elected to vote their own minds, will show some respect for the will of their constituents.

I was surprised when one caller told listeners that he had called Martin Heinrich's office, had expressed his position, had asked about the relative number of calls on both sides, and then had been told, in effect, that the count was none of his business.

I was stunned that Heinrich's office refused to relay the results of the input that they were receiving. I was frankly, incredulous. Yet, in the Journal this morning, link, I read that this was in fact, the long term position of Heinrich's office; they were/are indeed intent upon keeping this information secret from stakeholders.

I assume that whomever was fielding the calls in Heinrich's office was keeping score. If they weren't, double shame on the Representative.

The piece of paper on which the tally marks were written is a public record. If one filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act, the document would have to be surrendered. I mention this aspect only to underscore the obvious; that Heinrich's constituents not only have a right to know the information, but that that right is so incontrovertible, that it is recognized under the law.

Who knows, how Heinrich is justifying this secrecy in his own mind. The obvious surmise is that he intends to vote one way or the other, without regard for feelings and opinions of those that he represents in congress. And further, that he intends to keep secret his disregard for the sentiments of his constituency.

Any public servant who is unwilling to tell the truth about the spending of our power and our resources is unfit for office.

It is often proffered that people get the government that they deserve. Anyone who votes for this man, and for his blatant disregard for the will of his constituents, deserves a government that is absolutely unresponsive to their will, and likely corrupt and incompetent as well.

Update; I have been informed that members of congress are not actually subject to FOIA requests. Members of the New Mexico legislature have excepted themselves from open government laws as well.

photo Mark Bralley

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Which begs the question: Why does he even bother to take constituents calls?