Thursday, August 20, 2009

Our Incredible Vanishing Congressman

Congressman McMahon admitted the other day that he has no intention of holding a Town Hall meeting during this summer’s recess. He did so after a particularly hard-hitting set-to with a group of bingo-playing seasoned citizens at the Assumption Senior Center in New Brighton.

Despite a withering verbal assault in between the calling of N37 and B15 (BINGO!) our fearless leader stuck to his principles – no matter how much they threatened, cajoled, browbeat and bribed, he would not take a stand.

He doesn’t know how he’s going to vote.

Now the skeptical among us might think that indecision would be a good reason to speak to a wide swath of your constituency, especially when you have all this down-time back in the district. Perhaps a strong, healthy dose of what ordinary, hard-working, tax-paying Staten Islanders are thinking might help to clarify the mind a bit, right?

Wrong. In a post-Bingo interview with NY1, our Congressman made the following statement, verbatim and in toto:

“When you have some Town Hall meetings of this sort of ‘new version’ where this certain group comes in, hijacks the meeting and tries to drown out any thoughtful discussion, then I don’t think those meetings are helpful. So I will continue having dialogue in meetings like this….”

Apparently he’s met with civic leaders, community leaders, business leaders, and, as we know, a certain demographic of Bingo players, but I guess “meetings like this,” do not include you and me. And when we’re excluded, deliberately excluded, this story stops being funny.

Mr. McMahon, I suggest you take a step back and recognize that “this certain group” you refer to so disdainfully is YOUR constituents, and voicing their opinion to their Congressman is their right in a representative democracy. That you lack the fortitude to hear what they have to say because they speak in strong and passionate voices is very telling black mark on your re-election resume. Or do you, like President Obama, feel that we should just “stop talking and get out of the way?”

Personally, I don’t hear people “drowning out” thoughtful discussion – I simply hear people drowning; drowning in a sinking ship of ill-conceived, budget-busting, socialistic legislation. I hear people who perceive these meetings as a last chance to stop our country from plummeting into the murky depths of socialized medicine.

Please understand that the reason we are not interested in debating the minutiae of the various bills is because they all share the same titanic gash below the waterline; no matter how the deck chairs are arranged, any one of these bills will sink our healthcare system.

It's time to come out of hiding and face your constituents, Congressman. Leave the "Where's Waldo" games to the kids.