A Follow-Up on H.R. 3 and My Second and a Half of Congressional Time

2 02 2011

I threw a big fit a few days ago about House Resolution 3 and I have more info now.

Every so often, once in a blue moon, someone listens to the “little people” – in this case, the “little person” typing this right now. I thought this dissection of terms regarding sexual violence in order to score a few political points was so insane that I actually did something I tend to think of as supremely self-righteous, slightly whiny, and kind of pointless – I emailed my congresswoman.

I don’t feel that emailing a government representative is self-righteous, whiny, and pointless because I feel that it somehow isn’t my place as one of the masses – a noble nobody as I have previously described myself. I just think that, with everything that goes on at Capitol Hill and all the work that needs to be done to keep the country running smoothly, I find it hard to believe that my semi-educated thoughts on a particular piece of legislation carries much weight. My congresswoman has more information about what is going on in the House than I do and understands the law better than I do, so I don’t think she really needs me to tell her about a bill. I know enough about her political stand on abortion and women’s issues and her voting record to know she opposes H.R. 3. I’d just like to see somebody in the House say, “Hey, are we actually trying to redefine rape and incest here,” and she seems like she might do so. I sent off a short note from her website’s contact page and was satisfied that I had properly and officially expressed my outrage and been a good citizen too by doing what I had been told I should do by my Social Studies teachers so many years ago. Patriot in C# Minor here. Civic duty accomplished. Done. I knew it wouldn’t be read. Who cares about one unemployed, snowbound, twenty-something blogger, right. Well, apparently somebody in Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro’s office thought it was worthy of a response and I will share it with you.

Dear Discourse in C# Minor, (It has my name on it, but I’m not going to put my politics online while I’m still sending out resumés, so I’m remaining anonymous.)

Thank you for taking the time to contact me.  I appreciate hearing your views on this important issue.

Like you, I oppose the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.  Current law already prohibits federal funds from being used for abortions.  The Hyde amendment has prohibited public funding of abortion in most instances since 1977.  This proposed legislation is an unprecedented overreach that would deny abortion coverage to low-income women, federal employees, and military women and effectively end coverage through private insurance policies.  In addition, it would jeopardize a woman’s ability to access abortion services even in the case where the mother’s life is at risk. This legislation has been referred to the Judiciary Committee, but you can be sure that I will oppose it should it come to the floor for a vote.

Again, thank you for writing.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me on this or any other matter of concern to you in the future.

Sincerely,

Rosa L. DeLauro
Member of Congress

It’s a form letter, I know that, but it was more than I had expected and it’s a sign that it wasn’t immediately deleted like so much junk mail. It also gave me a scrap of information to report. H.R. 3 has been referred to the Judiciary Committee. Good. Maybe they’ll decide that haphazardly trying to differentiate between different instances of the same crime is legally suspect and/or could have an adverse effect on the prosecution of those crimes. If not, I’m hoping there is an almighty fuss raised if it goes to the floor.

And, since not ignoring the “little people” shouldn’t go unnoticed, I hereby award this gold star to the person in Rosa DeLauro’s office who took that second and a half to read my email. It may have been Rep. DeLauro. It was much more than likely a member of her staff. Whoever it was, that star is for them.

There’s another update here.

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Another Gold Star For a Government Official

7 07 2010

I saw this video posted here and I felt it was time to give out another gold star.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is not accustomed to things not going her way. That’s not me being insulting or anything like that, it’s fact. Just look at her history. Pretty much everything she’s attempted has worked out for her with the exception of her messy marriage and she and her husband seem to have sorted that out, too. It takes two people to make or break one of those and, from what little she’s said on the subject, she’s content with what she’s got in that department. As of her appointment as President Obama’s Secretary of State, she had amassed enough money and clout to ensure that she will in all likelihood be pleased with most aspects of her life from here on out.
The one big thing that she tried and failed to accomplish was to be elected president in 2008. The fact that she’s in his cabinet is not the issue here. The issue is that wherever she goes, even out of the country (this video was taken in the Republic of Georgia) she is reminded of that failure and instead of trying to avoid the questions about what working for the man who defeated her is like, she takes on the topic with grace and, in the process manages to point out some of the finer elements of democracy and the US system of governing. That’s a lot to pack into a minute. Furthermore, this is a conversation she has had before and will continue to have over and over, probably as long as she is in her current position as Secretary of State. Four years is a long time to be repeatedly reminded about your biggest failure.

That type of grace is lacking in politics everywhere. It’s not just Republicans. It’s not just Democrats. It’s not just the tea party people. It isn’t just the US either – ever seen some of the crazy shit that goes on in the parliamentary sessions of other countries? No, well, here you go.

*BEWARE – F-bombs dropped at the end.*

And, because everything is funnier when you add the Benny Hill theme, there’s this.

Yes, CSPAN would be a hell of a lot more entertaining if our House and Senate were like this, but I think graciousness is a quality that trumps my amusement when it comes to sorting out the country in which I reside and its relationship with the rest of the world. So, for combining lessons on democracy, fair elections, duty, and not being a sore loser, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gets a gold star





Commendable Behavior From Someone I Don’t Expect It From

10 06 2010

I’m not exactly what you’d call a fan of Nancy Pelosi and not just because I think fandom and politics go together like potassium and water. Sometimes she says and does things that just irk me. On occasion, I shake my head and think “And she’s third in the line of succession.” Still, I like and admire her tenacity even though her stands are sometimes to my left – not impossible, but no easy task either. I’m not bothered by the fact that she’s more liberal than I am. Hello! She’s the congresswoman from San Francisco not the Bible Belt. I’m still supposed to stagger back in sheer amazement at her liberalism? I don’t think so.
Honestly, the biggest argument for my lack of a strong opinion of her is that her being re-elected or not is simply out of my sphere of influence. I don’t have the money to donate to any campaigns and I don’t live in her district, so it’s not up to me whether she stays in Congress or not. I am also not a congresswoman, so I have no power to choose the Speaker of the US House of Representatives. It’s all out of my hands and I, unlike so many, refuse to flip out over elections in which I cannot participate. Now, if I had a substantial income and were able to donate significant amounts to campaigns all over the country, well then, my tune would change but I’m just a spectator at this point.

So what could move me to applaud someone whom I am otherwise unlikely to comment on one way or the other? Grace in the face of bad behavior. This is what made me actually proud of Nancy Pelosi.

She was being heckled by healthcare activists and Code Pink, but the issue she’s discussing isn’t what has me singing her praises. It’s the way she’s handling the uproar that I admire.
Last summer, when senators and congress people went home to try to sell healthcare reform, many met with strong opposition in the various town-hall meetings they held and their reactions generally fell into one of two categories – fight or flight. They either got just as belligerent as the protesters and got into verbal sparring matches or they ducked out as soon as a few loud hecklers started crowing. Speaker Pelosi did neither of these things – she calmly delivered her speech. Even when her security detail came up to the podium and said that the demonstrators were throwing things and the speaker should leave, she waved them off. “I’m not leaving.” And she didn’t. She delivered her half-hour speech in full though her security people were anxiously standing by.
It’s got to be obvious at this point that I generally have no soft spot in my heart for hecklers. It’s a wimps form of protesting. Standing in a crowd of people and just squawking takes no conviction. Standing holding a sign where everyone can see you or standing up in one of those meetings, stating your name and outlining all the problems you have with a particular proposal requires some gumption. If you feel strongly about something, you should have the wherewithal to stand up and take ownership of what’s tumbling forth from you mouth. Anonymously yelling grievances, or insults, or whatever at some politician, in my opinion, is nothing more than a cheep attempt to get on TV. “Look at me! I’m the stupid jackass at the [insert politician’s name here] rally!” It’s nothing but rude and gets even worse when people start throwing things… at a seventy-year-old woman… whose daughter and baby granddaughter are in the audience. Oh yeah, that’ll gain you a bunch of support for your cause. Real classy!

For standing up to asshats without losing her cool, Speaker Pelosi gets a gold star!

Nicely done.