Dear Mr. Walden:
I write to inquire whether you have read and plan to answer my letters of 08/24/2019 (“Is this president the Chosen One, Mr. Walden?”) and of 07/20/2019 (“Time for clarity, Mr. Walden”). Both respectfully ask that you take principled stands, in the face of a president that is unfit to lead us. You might disagree with my opinions and requests. But, as a constituent, I have a reasonable expectation of getting a response when I share my concerns with you.
I have become used to your formulaic answers. Those have been neither satisfying nor substantive. But complete silence—as now, and occasionally in the past—shows an entirely different level of indifference to constituents.
I started writing directly to you on January 2018 (“A letter to a Republican Congressman”). Then, as now, I wrote because I care deeply about our country, and consider that we are not on the right path.
I am a non-affiliated voter, who advocates for a multi-party system (“What now, America?“). When I moved to Hood River county, three years ago, I was not set on whom to vote for my representative in Congress. You were a possibility, offering a seemingly healthy balance to an otherwise Democratic Oregon delegation. That changed heading up to, and following, the 2016 presidential primaries.
That you did not denounce a candidate, then GOP nominee, and ultimately US president who does not exhibit basic human decency, was a disappointment. And it is truly disheartening that you remain mostly silent, and even support and defend this president, almost three years into a mandate that is deeply dividing the nation. That is compromising the dream of America as a land of freedom and opportunity. That is even compromising the reasonable expectation of protecting a planet from a climate crisis or our own doing.
I have since the 2016 election felt compelled to express my concern on multiple occasions. I do so through opinion articles, letters to the editor, and blog posts. Several of those are in the form of letters to you. Others simply address current issues, from reality-altering sharpies to our roles and responsibilities on climate change and the youth movement that is protesting adults’ failure to act on climate. A blog (outoftheboxblog.org) serves as the repository for most of my writings. I have no naive illusions that you will change your mind, or even personally read my letters (much less the blog)—but I am encouraged that others are reading and hopefully considering my thoughts.
In fairness, I have at times appreciated (and even drawn ephemeral hope from) your words, legislative actions or votes. For example, the bipartisan “No Surprises Bill” that you are currently co-sponsoring with Frank Palone (D-NJ6) is urgently needed, and you both should be applauded for it. Bills against robot calls and towards expanded internet coverage in rural areas are among the positives, too. But such actions remain too narrow in their collective scope.
They don’t erase you continuing to ignore the ominous context of this presidency, when you could (perhaps still can?) have made a difference (“Please call for an impeachment inquiry, Mr. Walden“; or even “A letter to Mr. Walden on H.R.183, condemning intolerance and bigotry“). They don’t negate your timidity or outright resistance to holistically addressing issues as essential as climate change, health care, immigration and mass shootings.
I draw no satisfaction in writing to or about you. Or campaigning and voting against you. Or having no choice but to vote for the Democratic presidential nominee in November 2020.
But I will continue writing, campaigning and voting. Respectfully. But with full clarity of intent and message:
- America deserves a government for and by the People. We don’t currently have one—and this president and the Republican Party are both symptoms and catalysts of the problem.
- It is well within your power, Mr. Walden, to work to make ours a fundamentally better government, consistent with the vision of the Founding Fathers and the hopes of most Americans. By seemingly not doing so, you are neglecting your responsibility as a US representative.
I am not alone in my concerns. If you truly believe that it is an honor to represent me in Congress (as claimed in the closing paragraph of your answers to previous letters), please demonstrate so by listening to—and meaningfully addressing—concerns like mine.
— Antonio Baptista