A debate: To serve thee or me

This article first appeared in the Fairfax Times and was written by Kimberly Meyer.

Michael Van Meter has requested that Gerry Connolly engage in the democratic process for a debate.  Yet, the congressman refuses to respond.  

This is just the latest snub to voters in Virginia’s 11th District. Virginians have no voice in Congress because their representative is completely out of touch with the average voter. Whether ignorance or apathy is responsible is a coin toss. Connolly either does not know or does not care.

The sad truth is the great people of Virginia hear from Connolly religiously during an election cycle, only to have him disappear like magic once it has ended. He can be counted on for a single vote each year … the one that increases his own pay in Congress.  In that respect, he is not that different from so many other members of our great House of Representatives.

Perhaps at the beginning of his tenure in Congress, Connolly’s claims of service did not ring hollow. But that time has ended. He is rich of the kind of trades that place popularity over the humble calls of representation, trades that involve the unmistakable hand of special interests and the luxurious benefits that flow from that allegiance, an allegiance that leaves Virginia voters to fend for themselves. Connolly’s decisions amount to an absence of representation in Congress for the 11th district of Virginia.  

If one must wonder why the congressman won’t appear to debate his opponent, one only needs to understand the obvious.  He does not care about representing the 11th district. He does not care about the voters enough to show up and answer questions about his “reign” of representation. Our democracy demands such a debate so Virginians can hear from those vying for office and make an informed decision on Nov. 5.  Perhaps it is a humble request, asking those who wish to represent us for answers, requesting their time to listen to the people and respond with the promise of a remedy.  Yet, this is precisely what representation is supposed to be about.

The truth is that Connolly won’t debate because he lacks that kind of humility anymore. His absence easily answers the question of whether he wants to serve the people of Virginia’s 11th District or merely serve his own interests.

In the Commonwealth, the power belonging to Connolly is returned to the people he refuses to face every two years.  On Nov. 5, the people of Virginia’s 11th District will cast a vote objecting to absences and apathy and instead vote for true representation.  It’s an easy choice because Van Meter cares enough to show up.  

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