Personal Communications with our Legislators

— This article by Jerry Cates, first published on 17 May 2010, was last revised on 1 June 2013. © Govinthenews Vol. 1:5(1).


1per·son·al Function: adjective    Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French personnel, personel, personal, from Late Latin personalis, from Latin persona person + alis -al — more at PERSON    1 : of or relating to a particular person : affecting one individual or each of many individuals : peculiar or proper to private concerns : not public or general <personal allegiance> <personal baggage> <personal correspondence>    2 a : done in person without the intervention of another : direct from one person to another <a personal inquiry>; also : originating in or proceeding from a single person <a personal ultimatum> <personal government> b obsolete : engaged or present in person c : carried on between individuals directly <a personal interview>    3 : relating to the person or body : BODILY <personal appearance> <personal liberty>    4 a : relating to an individual, his character, conduct, motives, or private affairs especially in an invidious and offensive manner <personal reflections>; also : relating to oneself <personal vanity> b : making or given to making personal reflection <very personal in his comments>    5 a : relating to or characteristic of human beings as distinct from things b : rational and self-conscious <a personal God>    6 : exclusively for a given individual <a personal letter>    7 substandard : PERSONABLE 1    8 : of, relating to, or constituting personal property <a personal estate> <personal interests> — compare REAL 1a    9 a : denoting grammatical person <a personal suffix> b of a verb : inflected for all three persons — compare IMPERSONAL Source: Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002.

com·mu·ni·ca·tionFunction: noun    Inflected Form(s): -s    Etymology: Middle English communicacioun, from Middle French communication, from Latin communication-, communicatio, from communicatus (past participle of communicare to communicate) + -ion-, -io, -ion    1 : the act or action of imparting or transmitting <the communication of the common cold> <the communication of power to the machine>    2 a : facts or information communicated b : a letter, note, or other instance of written information <he had not yet read the spy’s communication>    3 a obsolete : CONVERSATION, TALK b archaic : personal dealings c archaic : SEXUAL INTERCOURSE    4 archaic : common participation    5 a : access between persons or places : opportunity of communicating <maintaining communication between the regulars and guerrillas> b communications plural : means of communicating : (1) : a system (as of telephones or telegraphs) for communicating information and orders (as in a naval service) (2) : a system of routes for moving troops, supplies, and vehicles in military operations (3) : the function in an industrial organization that transmits ideas, policies, and orders (4) sometimes capitalized : personnel engaged in communicating c : a medium through which information is carried <channels of communication in industry>    6 a : interchange of thoughts or opinions : a process by which meanings are exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols (as language, signs, or gestures) b : close or intimate rapport that is sometimes intellectual and often affective    7 : a Masonic lodge meeting    8 or communications plural but singular in const : an art that deals with expressing and exchanging ideas effectively in speech or writing or through the graphic or dramatic arts and that is taught as an integrated program at various levels of education in distinction to traditional separate courses in composition and speech  Source: Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002.


Let’s Do It…

No doubt many of our elected executives and legislators who will be hearing from me will share a single wish: that I’d stuck to the study of bugs, spiders, and snakes and left them alone. To those who feel that way, I have but one thing to say. I’ve not left my first love, but am merely taking on new kinds of bugs, spiders, and snakes. In many ways, those who sit in the seats of government in this land are more troublesome and dangerous to human society than the snakes, spiders, and bugs I usually study. The vast majority of the latter are actually beneficial, offering, as they do, much more good than bad to the humanity that holds them in contempt and keeps them at arm’s length. Would that the same ratio — and relationship — applied to our legislative bodies.

Some will take great offense that their motives, integrity, and behavior are being examined by ordinary citizens. They certainly take offense at inquiries from their peers, so if we deign to do such a thing, the indignity is only magnified. Here, I have considerable experience as a questioner of those in authority, and what I have learned from that experience is this: honest individuals are not only accepting of close scrutiny by the electorate, they welcome it. They have nothing, NOTHING, to hide and therefore have no fears of the consequences of being studied under a microscope. Dishonest politicians, on the other hand, take umbrage from the most superficial questioning. How dare you, they ask, impugn my high office with your impertinent questions? Well, sir or madam, whomever ye be, today we do dare. We dare, indeed. It is, in fact, because we failed to dare to call into question the integrity of our elected public servants in the past, and did not hold them accountable for their behavior and actions, that things have gotten so out of hand, and our halls of law and justice have become so heavily populated with dishonest, self-serving men and women.

But, before I send this questionnaire to our elected public servants, we — you and me — need to formulate the questions carefully. Taking the “bones to pick” from the previous page, let’s write up a set of questions based on the issues they bring to the fore. Help me out here. What would you ask the president, vice president, your senators and representatives, governors, county commissioners, and so on? Do you think those officials should feel obliged to answer such questions? I do, and I hope you do, too. Write me an E-Mail describing the questions you’d ask. If they are appropriate, I’ll add them to the following list.  Look… the list is growing. You can watch it grow as we go along. When we get to the bottom, and all have been reviewed and thoroughly examined, I’ll invite all our elected officials to provide answers to them.

Questions I’d Like our Public Servants to Answer:

—- 1. Decorum.

A. Does the way our legislators disrespect each other trouble you, or is that the way we, the voters, should expect them to behave?

B. Is partisanship, i.e., following a party line for sake of partisan objectives at the expense of truth and justice, ever justifiable?

C. How do you define statesmanship?

C. 1.  Should statesmanship, within our government today, be common or rare?

D. Where do you focus your energies: On (1) your responsibilities as a public servant? Or on (2) exercising your authority over others?

E. Do you ever think of the people of America as comprising a sleeping giant that can awaken to action if sufficiently provoked?

F. If that provocation occurs, would you expect reincarnations of Nathan Hale, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson to rise up and take their places on the stage of current history?

G. Should that day come, which, if any, of the important figures from America’s past do you think your service as a public servant best compares?

—- 2. Sanctity of the Vote vs. Voter Fraud *help me formulate the questions for this section and the ones that follow.

More to come

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