An Open Letter to the Honorable Brad Ellsworth and his constituents
First, by way of disclaimer you should know that I have voted Republican reasonably faithfully in every General Election since 1964. You were the first Democrat for whom I have memory of voting in such an election.
Second, what is here submitted is intended neither as criticism nor suggestion. Surely having been elected to a second term you already have had a healthy share of both.
The immediate catalyst for writing has nothing to do with any particular legislation you are considering or recommending. Rather, I was motivated by the announcement you had cancelled planned public meetings because of on-going disruptions of these events. Disruptions which are, allegedly, organized by forces opposed to Health Care Reform of any type.
Your announcement reminded me of an event organized by then Senator John Danforth held not too long after the Kennedy assassination. Danforth, heir to the Ralston-Purina fortune, was then the fifth wealthiest man in the U.S. Senate. He drove himself, accompanied by one aide. The only conflict presented was his disappointment no one had thought to prepare coffee.
The world has changed in 45 years and I do appreciate your decision about meetings with constituents. But, frankly I do not understand the opposition as I have seen it portrayed on broadcast news reports. It seems a shame such tactics have forced honest debate to be so inconsiderately gagged.
As I understand what I read in the papers, the President of the United States and Congress are seeking some kind of healthcare reform. The good news is that Congress is taking a few weeks off, so the inevitable has been temporarily postponed.
Long ago I learned not to worry too much about proposed legislation. The outcome is never as good as proponents propose, nor as bad as opponents opine. Besides, two years later Congress always has to go back and correct all the unintended consequences.
I hear there are over a dozen different bills in play right now, including the President's, for consideration. What we are likely to get won't be exactly like any of them. What finally comes out will be a compromise created by some 535 different people, each with their own agenda; and agreed to by a President who knows this is as good it gets.
What the President ultimately signs is not the reason I voted for you, or any other candidate.
In the end I vote for whom I honestly believed is the available candidate who might best do God's work on earth. Perhaps I was wrong, but I don't know of anything in particular you may have done to change my original opinion.
All I ask is that you DO what you honestly believe is in the best interest of your country and we your constituents. It does seem that when we ask more of any mere human we are beginning the descent into the anarchy so cherished by those who disrupt Town Hall Meetings for their own profit and/or advantage.
You have no good reason to recall Congressman, but I once slipped you this note via an aide: In his dying scene of "Saving Private Ryan" Tom Hank's character whispers to Private Ryan, "Earn this."
David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.