Angela, an activist friend of mine, is the daughter of a Vietnam vet whose health was devastated by exposure to Agent Orange (a product of the Monsanto Corporation) and a mother who is actively doing what she can to fight Monsanto’s domination of our food supply. She has been diligently trying for three weeks to get and appointment with Rep. Sam Graves, or one of his staff, to discuss HR 1599, the “Mother of All Monsanto Protection Acts”. Graves is a co-sponsor of the bill. All she has gotten is stonewalling. This is a perfect example of the obstruction to democracy that is going on all over America. Most people give up after one or two attempts, but not Angela.
She has phoned numerous times, sent emails, wrote letters, and filled out the appointment request form on the Congressman’ s website five times. She told me early last week “If I don’t get a response by Friday I’m going to his office and stand there till someone talks to me.” Friday morning she told me she hadn’t heard anything. She then posted this on the Ban GMOs in the US Facebook page:
“So today I go to Congressman Sam Graves office to see if he will speak to me about HR1599, THE DARK ACT. I have tried to set up an appointment to talk to Mr. Graves on several different occasions to no avail. I did receive one call back from Mr. Graves office telling me that I had not filled out the request correctly (which I had) but I did fill it out again, twice more, exactly the way the staffer said…again, to no avail. Mr. Graves office hasn’t and seems to not have any plans to speak to me on behalf of the 972 members of the OCA which are all constituent in Mr. Graves district. Wish me luck!!!!!”
Angela pulled the address off the Congressman’s website and was on her way to the office on Blue Jay Drive. When she arrived she sent this photo:
And then these photos.
This is the sign behind her.
“So.. someone finally answered that phone number. His name was Eddie. He asked that I email the scheduler at her direct email address, which he gave me. However, all the staffers are out of town at a staffers retreat and they will not get back to me anytime soon. Eddie also said, because they had a change in schedulers, there may have been some confusion and he apologizes.”
When I asked her if Eddie had given her a time frame she replied “He says that I should give them a week or two to get back to me”
While she was on the road to the office on Ambassador Road I texted her the name, email, and phone for the manager of Graves district offices, Josh.
When she arrived at the office it was dark, the door unlocked, but no one was around.
She spoke to someone who works for the building and messaged “So they will not be in the offices in Kansas City for a “while” I was told. I was also told by a person that takes care of the building that Sam Graves “works” out of, that Mr. Graves had never to this point stepped foot into the building, EVER! That same person said that the staffers are there often…so will try again Monday. I called all local and DC numbers available to me for Mr. Graves with no real response.”
Angela told me the person she spoke with in the building said many people come by but no one sees Graves. She also told Angela that according to the schedule the staff retreat was over.
Angela also told me she called the number I gave her for Josh the District Manager and there was no answer nor was there a machine or voicemail to leave a message. The person Angela spoke with in the building said Josh was a nice guy but not there very often. Angela left her phone number and asked to be called if Graves or Josh came in. As of this posting she has not gotten a phone call.
Angela also said that she knew of four other people who had been trying to get an appointment – with no success.
My Two Cents
Our representatives are supposed to represent us. How can they do that if they don’t talk to us? Far too often they develop their own private agendas and don’t want us to interfere. Those taxpaying voters who do try to contact them to express wishes and concerns get form letters, slick answers, and the run around when we get any response at all. All of these tactics are an obstruction to Democracy. But because they have offered some response, not matter how generic and superficial, they can technically say they responded to the voters. We the people are not stupid. We know when we’re being blow off. What they are counting on is that when we get frustrated many just stop trying.
While this looks like a chronic condition in the Graves camp, I don’t think it is a coincidence that Monsanto, who wrote HR 1599, gave $5,000 to the Graves campaign and now Graves is a co-sponsor of the bill. Although given ample opportunity, neither he nor his office has made any attempt to grant an appointment to one of his constituents, representing nearly 1,000 other voters in his district, who wants to discuss objections to HR1599.
Democracy is broken in America. What these elected officials seem to be forgetting is that they are elected. Big business may have been granted the same rights as individuals and has big bucks to underwrite a candidate’s political campaign, but it is “we the people” who actually cast the votes and we’re mad as hell at the way we’re being treated. What all you elected officials need to remember is that without our support you’ll lose your cushy jobs with all your perks and kickbacks so you better start doing a better job of, well, doing your job and listening to us and representing OUR wishes in Washington.