Moving to the deep south has been quite the interesting experience. One of the first things I noticed is that racism is very much real and an issue in our country. For anyone who does not think so, you need to get out more.
Something else I’ve noticed is that Floridians are really terrible drivers. I don’t know if it’s because there are so many transplants from other parts of the country and the bad drivers all move here. Maybe they have a really bad driver’s education program. Whatever it is, I fear for my life on a daily basis when I drive.
But on a more serious note, people are seriously racist. Enough so that it was worth mentioning again.
Alas, this is not a post on racism, this is a post on the town hall I attended, hosted by the congressman Matt Gaetz. Matt Gaetz is the representative for District 1 in Florida for the US House of Representatives. He has been more noticeably recognized due to his significant loyalty to President Trump and his sponsorship of a bill to eliminate the EPA. Gaetz also believes the Dept of Ed is unconstitutional and wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Now for some, this is your dream representative and will follow him into the smog that is surely on it’s way if he is successful in dismantling the EPA. However, for others, you are concerned that this fellow is the one in Washington casting votes and proposing bills on your behalf.
I just recently moved to Florida, so I did not have the honor of either voting with 69.1% of the voters who voted Gaetz into office, or with the 30.9% who voted against. But I am now a registered voter in Florida and do not have any intentions of changing that, so I look forward to having a choice in future elections.
Back to the town hall. What an eye opening experience. Some highlights from the day include the signs people created to share either their support or opposition to different topics. The fact that it was held in a bowling alley/restaurant/bar. I also enjoyed the politeness (for the most part) that opposing sides gave to one another. With the exception of one gentleman standing rather nearby to me who continually attempted to bait others into arguments and also shouted for one immigrant woman to “go back to where you came from” while she gave an impassioned speech on why she did not support abolishing the Affordable Care Act, there were no physical or verbal altercations that I saw.
Now since this post is titled an open letter to politicians, I should probably get to the part where I address these politicians:
- Town Halls: For those of you who hold and attend your town halls. Good. I don’t think you deserve a participation trophy, this is your job. Your job is to be a voice for your constituents. Not just the ones who voted for you. Not just the ones that align with your own personal convictions. ALL your constituents.
- Listen: Matt Gaetz was on the record repeatedly saying that part of his job it to “give people the opportunity, who disagree with you, to step forward, yell at ya, wag their finger in your face, and the job of the public servant is to take it. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do.” But the piece he’s missing here is where he actually takes into consideration what people are saying to him.
- Admit when you’re wrong: Since paying attention to politics, I’ve changed my mind about certain issues that I was once fairly adamant about. After taking some time to listen, really listen, to another viewpoint, facts and points on an issue, my stance changed. Everyone is so afraid of looking weak if they admit they were wrong about something. Stop it. Grow a pair, admit you were wrong, and do what is right.
- Paid protestors: Seriously? This is really a ridiculous stance that politicians are making right now. There are not paid protestors at the town halls that you are seeing. When I first heard this, I knew it was so absurd I didn’t even consider people would believe it. But it turns out people are really stupid and actually think this. To these people I recommend going back to school to get your GED. Politicians are spouting this ridiculousness because they need some sort of defense for why so many of their constituents are showing up and voicing their opinions and concerns. Rather than the truth, that people aren’t happy with how things are going in Washington, they instead say it’s fake. Fake news, alternative facts, fake protestors? Really? I doubt it.
- Country over Party and Sponsors: Personally I am not 100% democrat or 100% republican, few people are. I try to side on an issue based on what I believe to be right, regardless of party affiliation, and after thorough research into both sides. Wouldn’t it be nice if political parties didn’t exist? So despite your party affiliation, or the corporations offering the biggest check, stop being sheep and do your damn job.
Politics can be overwhelming. But pretending like they don’t exist or they don’t matter is unavoidable for me anymore. These issues directly impact people’s lives. That’s why people are ranting, protesting and caring more than ever. I recommend at least educating yourself on a couple of issues that could be important to you.