All Politics is Local

2 Apr

We recently got an e-mail from Move On, or Sit Up, or some organization like that asking if we’d show up at our U.S. Representative’s office to let him know that we supported an increase in the minimum wage.  We figured  that this would be a good time to let our rep know how we felt.  He’s kind of a do-nothing guy, if we can believe the weekly updates he himself puts out.  He’s always going to this or that coffee klatsch and getting meaningless awards from groups who think he’s just a peachy guy.  Tell him that folks who work their tails off for dirt wages deserve an increase? Sure, that was something we could get behind.

Jimmy Stewart

If only our rep was like Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith goes to Washington.

We left at 11:00 am to get to our Rep’s office by noon (the district is long and thin – Elbridge Gerry would be proud.)  Despite the fact that we’d printed the directions from Map Quest, we managed to get lost and drove around aimlessly until we located the office.

Less than 10 people stood on the sidewalk outside the office holding signs exhorting the Rep to support an increase in the minimum wage. Oh well, at least they were out there.  Some drivers honked in solidarity as they passed.  We parked and joined the small group.  One woman said they’d find a sign for us.  We pointed out that perhaps we’d be more effective if we went into the office and told the rep our views.  She allowed that that was true, but they did not want to risk being thrown out.  Having missed out on the days of 60s protests, we were rarin’ to be thrown out.

We entered the office.  A woman sat at a desk behind a glass with a metal speaker hole in it, like a movie theater box office. We said that we’d like to talk to our Rep.  “He’s not here – he’s in Washington,” she replied nasally.  Oh great, the guy was not even there to know that a protest march, however humble, was going on outside.  The woman took our name and address and wrote “Supports minimum wage increase’ or something to that effect on a legal pad.  We apologized for not being high-powered lobbyists with deep pockets.  “I don’t know anything about lobbyists,” the woman replied.  “I’ve never seen any.”  And that was pretty much that.  We left the office, stopping to hobnob with the sign carriers once again.  They told me that a clean water action group was coming later.  We thanked them for the information, but said we needed to get back to work.

We thought of our Representative, probably lunching with a lobbyist that very moment.  We got in our car and drove back to work.  The event had been less dramatic than we’d hoped, but we weren’t sorry that we’d made the trip.


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