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Friday, August 05, 2005

"Put Them in Tents"

I attended Mr. DeLay's "Immigration Forum" last night in Sugar Land. It was packed, mainly with GOP party people. I went to listen and have a couple observations about it.

One of the first odd things was the announcement that "all recording devices must be turned off." It was a public forum, with media and campaign people with video cameras -- so why the ban on recording? What didn't DeLay want public? That soon became apparent.

One of Mr. DeLay's solutions for dealing with illegal immigrants stuck out like a sore thumb. He said we should round them up and "put them in tents" if we didn't have enough space for them in jails, etc.

Forcing people to live in tents in Texas in August when it is nearly 100 degrees? That will show the world how “civilized” we are! Why not just be like the Taliban and beat them with sticks while you're at it? I don’t think so.

American criminals who steal or kill get jail cells with air conditioning. But a person whose sole crime is illegally looking for work deserves nothing more than a tent, according to our majority leader. I disagree. If you put anyone in a tent in the summer heat it should a Congressman who gives himself a pay raise while cutting teachers’ pensions. I would also include pedophiles.

If we are going to be a great nation, we can deport people and still provide due process without degrading them in the process. This is America. We can do better than throw people in tents even if they are illegal - they are still human beings.

Second comment. Last night, I saw that Mr. DeLay only answer questions written on note cards, which are carefully screened. No oral questions from voters are allowed! Not even from a very friendly audience of loyal Republicans like the one last night, who applauded like trained seals. That strikes me as strange.

I’ve mentioned before a prior meeting in which two GOP ladies had a question for Mr. DeLay about tobacco companies marketing candy cigarettes etc. to children. They wrote their question on a card, but it was never asked. After the meeting ended they followed Mr. DeLay, and verbally asked for a response. No response.

A Congressman should take questions people ask from the floor, and not just from cards. And not from just Republicans. I would take questions at a town hall meeting from any citizen living in the district: Republican, Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, Green or Martian (ok, just kidding about the Martian).

The incumbent does not even represent all Republicans. If he did then I, a political unknown, would never have received 20% of the GOP primary vote in 2002 against a 18-year incumbent without so much as an ad or a mailing. Had I been able to do mailouts and advertise that percentage would certainly have been higher.

Current RNC polls show that Mr. DeLay's hardcore base in the district is only 36-38%, including that narrow group who votes in the March primary. That means he no longer represents the majority of voters in the district. With funding, my base would easily equal or exceed that.

If you add my 2002 GOP vote of 20% plus the 41% who voted Democrat in District 22 in November 04, that is 61% of voters in District 22 who prefer someone other than Mr. DeLay. So he is not representing a majority when you add them together.

This townhall meeting is a vivid example of leadership isolating itself from the public, and creating a negative image of the party. It reflects badly on how we as a country treat people. I want to change that.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

That means he no longer represents the majority of voters in the district.

No, that's not what it means. He represents everyone in the district. That's what winning an election in our system "means."

It is a testament to the fundamental fairness of our political system that somebody who makes such ignorant comments about our representative democracy nonetheless may still run for office in that representative democracy.