A message from our former congressman

A loyal reader sent in this note from Mr. O’Rourke:

The government of the greatest country the world has ever known, the wealthiest, most powerful nation on the planet: closed until further notice.

This shutdown – hundreds of thousands of our fellow Americans working without pay during the holidays, basic government functions no longer available to the taxpayers who fund them – didn’t have to happen. The Senate passed a compromise government funding bill two days ago, 100–0. The men and women who can’t agree on what to name a post office were able to unite and unanimously agree on how to fund the entire government.

But maybe it was intended to happen.

Maybe in the face of an investigation that seeks the facts surrounding allegations of collusion with a foreign government and obstruction of justice within our own government… as one aide after another pleads guilty… as the stock market tumbles… as men and women intent on keeping their dignity and their conscience flee his administration… perhaps the President calculates that by adding to the blizzard of bizarre behavior over the last two years and shutting down the government at Christmas, while his own party still controls each branch of it, the institutions that we need for our democracy to function (and to ensure no man is above the law) will be overwhelmed.

From a President who promised action, we got distraction.

But my concern for the country goes beyond the immediate pain and dysfunction that this shutdown will cause. Beyond even ensuring that this President is held accountable. What’s happening now is part of a larger threat to us all.

If our institutions no longer work, if we no longer have faith in them, if there’s no way to count on government even functioning (three shutdowns this year alone), then perhaps ultimately we become open to something else. Whatever we choose to call it, whether we openly acknowledge it at all, my fear is that we will choose certainty, strength and predictability over this constant dysfunction, even if it comes at the price of our democracy (the press; the ballot box; the courts; congress and representative government).

If there were ever a man to exploit this precarious moment for our country and our form of government, it’s Trump. Sending 5,400 troops to U.S. border communities during the midterm elections. Organizing Border Patrol “crowd control” exercises in El Paso on election day. Defying our laws by taking children from their parents, keeping kids in tent camps, turning back refugees at our ports. Calling the press “the enemy of the people” and celebrating violence against members of the media. Pitting Americans against each other based on race and religion and immigration status. Inviting us to hate openly, to call Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals, to call asylum seekers animals, to describe Klansmen and neo-Nazis as very fine people. Seeking to disenfranchise fellow Americans with made up fears of voter fraud. Isolating us from the other great democracies as he cozies up to dictators and thugs. Lying again and again. Making a mockery of the United States – once the indispensable nation, the hope of mankind.

So we can engage in the immediate fights about blame for this latest shutdown… fall into his arguments about a wall, or steel slats, at a time of record border security and in the face of asylum seekers – our neighbors – fleeing the deadliest countries in the world… we can respond to his name-calling and grotesque, bizarre behavior… or we can pull up, look back at this moment from the future and see exactly what is happening to our country.

We are at risk of losing those things that make us special, unique, exceptional, those things that make us the destination for people the world over, looking for a better life and fleeing countries who lack our institutions, our rule of law, our stability.

If ever there was a time to put country over party it is now. This is not about a wall, it’s not about border security, it’s not about Democrats and Republicans. It’s about the future of our country – whether our children and grandchildren will thank us or blame us. Whether we will lose what was fought for, made more perfect, by the men and women who risked and lost their lives at Antietam, on Omaha beach, in Jackson, Mississippi… whether we will be defined by greatness and ambition or pettiness and fear. Whether we will continue to live in the world’s greatest democracy, or something else.

In the short term – let’s pass the funding bill that was agreed to by the Senate 100–0 just a few days ago. Send it to the President with the confidence that we represent the people of this country and that we are willing to override his veto if he cannot respect their will. Show that government can work, that we can see past our immediate differences to serve the greater good. To put country over party. To put country over one man. To do what we were sent here to do.

In the longer term – we must strengthen all of our institutions at the very moment they are called into question. Some clear opportunities for Congress: Ensure that our representatives in government reject PAC money, corporate and special interest influence. Demand that they hold town halls in our communities, listen to and respond to their constituents. Show America that they are working for us and for no one else.

Take action on the most urgent issues of our day: climate change, healthcare, endless war, income inequality, immigration, the vibrancy of rural communities and inner cities, education and criminal justice reform. Define the goal in each area, build the coalition to achieve it, find the common ground (between parties, between branches of government), and move forward. Prove that our system of government – whatever its problems – is still the best thing under the sun.

It’s action vs. distraction. One will save our democracy, the other will lead to its end.

26 Responses to A message from our former congressman

  1. Anonymous says:

    The following is from a very O’Rourke friendly news source:

    https://www.texastribune.org/2019/01/16/beto-orourkes-immigration-plan-no-wall-few-specifics/

    Mr. O’Rourke has spent 40+ years in a border community and he has no detailed thoughts on immigration. This does not reflect well on him. Of all policy areas, this should be one of his strongest.

    Like

  2. John Dungan says:

    So, iow, alla y’all are Native Americans, and none of y’alls’ antecedents immigrated to this land, right? Or, alla your antecedents were the ‘best and brightest’ of their time? And, hate is what I see from you all, and hate is what I called it.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Probably more like just an opportunity for you to hide, disguise your hate, racism, ignorance for what goes on in El Taxo. Have seen no other remarks encouraging, condoning even the word “hate”. Maybe we stepped on YOUR politicians toes? Because most politicians here are racist. O’Rourke, a “Pretend” Hispanic, Veronica Escobar, Jose Rodriguez.

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Two things can be true –

      1. A person can respect and appreciate people of Mexican, Guatemalan, and Honduran descent (or any other nation).

      2. Same person can want the U.S. to control its borders.

      Disagreement with Mr. Dungan = hate.

      Like

  3. John Dungan says:

    I am saddened to see the hate come out in these comments. Fortunately, it seems to be limited to only about five, mostly unknown people, who choose to hide behind their pseudonyms. There is so much wrong with your comments, that it is hard to even begin. Troll much?

    Like

    • Mike Schwartz says:

      John, where are you seeing hate? The anonymous postings are comments on robert O’rourke’s actions and inactions. The remainder clearly lay out what is happening with an open borders policy.

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not hate. It’s common sense. Our society already has a pretty full safety net. Opening our doors to folks from parts of the world with with 50% literacy rates and legacy first languages, simply disenfranchises folks who are here legally and already struggling. Societally we are on the verge of a technological shift that will eliminate a lot of service sector repetitive jobs. Our immigration policies need to be driven by skill needs, not illegal alien mob “wants” or the open borders agenda. Otherwise we are going end up seeing third world grade slums as we develop an underclass of permanently unemployable folks and eventually run out of money to feed and house them. If the current rate of 60,000 folks a month keeps up, we are looking 720,000 marginally employable folks per year gaming our immigration system. And another caravan just left Honduras. Congress needs to fix this by closing the immigration loopholes that incentivize this migration and increasing border security (including barriers where they make sense). And, John if you are so in favor of helping these poor people, why don’t you sign up to sponsor a family unit so you can experience their love of America and desire to have a better life firsthand.

      Like

  4. Anonymous says:

    Nothing bugs a lib more than a shutdown government.

    Like

  5. Judy Maddox says:

    Robert Francis O’Rourke concern is misplaced!
    He had six years to solve this problem and in that time he present three bills one to name a Federal Court House and two for vets rights.
    He spent his last year and a half in office running for the Senate.
    After his loss where he spent over 40 million out of state dollars and had more publicity to travel in every county in Texas against the incumbent’s 20 million dollar and no free adoring press Rob as he was known at Woodbury and Columbia lost!
    So did he go back to the house and try and solve the problem,
    No he started his unannounced campaign.
    Robert Francis the election is over do not tell me you are concerned your actions speak louder than words.
    We are weary of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Woody Bare says:

    Orourke who sat on the floor of the house in protest says do as I say and not as I do! Loser!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. JerryK says:

    Why do the Dems not want to stop these hordes of illegal migrants? 30,000 to 50,000 a month now? 25% of then unaccompanied minors? What are we we supposed to do with those children?

    If not stopped, the migrants will eventually in their millions make America like the 3rd world they are fleeing – poor, lawless, violent and ignorant. I guess that is the Dem dream for America, a giant welfare plantation with its white liberal masters at the top. Like the Old South the Dems created pre and post Civil War.

    Build the wall. Stop the invasion. Then negotiate and decide on an immigration policy that works for the USA. But first build the goddam wall!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks, Jerry K. Thought I might be standing out here alone. Excellent. Where are they putting all of them now? What happens when all the POLITICIANS, local “supporters” run out of space? WHO is watching them.? They are already in the City, where are the Police? Have the politicians told them, “Don’t get involved”? What happens to the ones that go to the bus station to leave town, but have NO money? Do they just wander around, sleep on the side walks, a new crop of panhandlers on even more corner, intersections? The City, POLITICIANS being politically correct and creating tent-city, sleeping bag ghettos?? Don’t have much faith in the abilities of the Mayor, City Council to resolve anything.

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        No, the people “dumped” on the streets of El Paso by the feds do not just wander around and panhandle. If you followed the local news, you would know that compassionate, hard-working El Pasoans and local organizations stepped up and helped with food, housing, and transportation to help relocate those people with family and friends across the U.S.

        Like

        • Paleocrat says:

          So they can drop an anchor baby on our doorstep and qualify for welfare? Public housing? Medicaid? There aren’t enough destinations for 50,000 illegals a month. Build the wall. Deport them back to bananaland. Then talk about what immigration works for the USA.

          How about an IQ test? You go to a consulate and take an IQ test and if you score average at least, you get a visa. Prepare for more wontons and fewer tacos 😁

          Like

          • Anonymous says:

            Excellent post, right down the line. People just refuse to understand that their Friday pay check, the every 2 weeks pay checks are taken by the Government, the El Taxo politicians TAKE our money to support the 100,000 or MORE Illegals living HERE. And THEY want more HERE every day. The politicians, the Democrats here, across the country, Washington have NO concern for the safety, protection of Americans. THEY represent only themselves and whatever THEY can TAKE from US. Beto O’Rourke, Veronica Escobar, Polosi, all of THEM.

            Like

    • Anonymous says:

      So you prefer the El Paso style plantation with white, conservative, GOP masters, a couple in particular, who keep taking our money and resources. No need to name names. You know who they are. Why do wealthy, anti-tax, conservative GOP business people need me and you to fund corporate welfare to subsidize their personal businesses?

      Don’t act like it’s all the fault of the Dems and don’t act as though the South had or has a monopoly on racism or plantation culture. Republicans had plenty of opportunities over the past 25 years to fix immigration, but they chose to turn a blind eye because businesses wanted a continuous flow of cheap labor, vulnerable people with no rights, sort of like slaves, to help keep U.S. wages low.

      Like

  8. Anonymous says:

    Texas saw the wisdom of electing Ted Cruz over O’Rourke. Like so many have said in these posts, nothing more than a loser rant of lies, half-truths. Just another opportunity for a Democrat that LOST, to bash the President. El Paso is a Democrat-run Sanctuary City for people ILLEGALLY in OUR country. There are a 100,000 or MORE of them in El Paso, the County, living here. WE, the taxpayers, working people of El Paso are FORCED by politicians like YOU, the U.S. and State Governments to support them, provide for them. Many El Pasoans find it difficult to support their own families. WE face constant FABRICATED, INFLATED Property “Value” INCREASES , ALWAYS followed by ANOTHER tax increase. WE, in “El Taxo” have the highest TAXES of most any other state or city in the country, in one of the poorest cities in America. How do YOU explain that? What did YOU do for US? I remember YOU on City Council and I would never have voted for YOU in any election, for anything. Nothing ever gets better for the PEOPLE of “El Taxo”. The only thing that ever changes in El Paso is the names of the politicians like YOU, that increase OUR taxes and TAKE from US, give to others.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Anonymous says:

    And it apparently was written as the bulk of the Democrats in Congress were sunning themselves on the beaches of Puerto Rico and enjoying a private performance by the cast of Hamilton at a junket paid for by a PAC. Yep, that’s what the Dems did last weekend instead of trying to find a compromise solution. If Beto gets the open borders he wants he can afford to buy a compound somewhere with walls to protect him. The rest of us will just have to watch as large slums of unemployable folks relocate from the slums of the third world because if mobs of people are allowed to simply cross and demand asylum at the current rate they are coming in pretty soon that is what we’ll have. If the Dems really wanted to put the interests of Americans first, they would sit down at the table and work a compromise deal that gave funding for a border security system that met the criteria already requested by CBP (barriers, technology and manpower) and reforms in the asylum process in exchange for an expanded (and simplified) guest worker visa program and resolution for DACA. That would provide the path needed to open the door to financial immigrants who fit the jobs we have for them and remove the incentives for mobs of people to try to enter our country illegally and game our immigration system.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Mr. Schwartz, would you please point two “actual lies” in the message? Would you cite one example of what you believe to be to be “pandering “? Finally, could you be specific about what is included in “and such”? Thank you in advance.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Tom Busch says:

    “Brevity is the soul of wit”

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Mike Schwartz says:

    This is so full of half truths, actual lies, political pandering and such, I can’t even begin to respond. Which is probably why it goes on at length. If r.F. O’Rourke ever lucked in to the Presidency, it would be a nightmare.

    Liked by 1 person

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