The House resolution passed on Friday. We knew it would, just as we knew that it would be blocked by the Senate and blown off by the White House.
My chief concern on Friday afternoon was to find out how my representative voted. I’ve been wondering how his votes would reflect his claims during the campaign, especially given the rather warlike attitudes of this constituency. It was noted during the run-up to the November election that he was the only kind of Democrat who would ever get elected in this district – Traditional Family Values, an ex-football player, won’t work on Sundays (although you have to wonder if he played football on Sunday in his previous career.) But, while his positions on stem-cell research, abortion rights, and GLBT civil rights are significantly different than my own, at least his attitude on the Iraq war was less supportive than his predecessor. A trade-off. Better than the alternative. Charles Taylor was – well, hell, I won’t get into it; I’ve posted already on his enabling of Congressional corruption, especially when it comes to Tom DeLay. (Have I? Or was it a rant to a co-worker?)
When Shuler was elected I decided that it was time to start voicing my opinion, loudly, and often. It’s not enough for me to cast a vote. It’s up to me to holler, even if it has to happen on an answering machine or a fax. (I’ve done both so far.)
So I swallowed my anxiety and my fear of being blown off. Friday afternoon, as soon as I heard they’d approved the resolution, I called Shuler’s office.
“Is there any way to find out how Shuler voted?” I said to the man who answered the phone.
“Yes,” he said, “I can tell you.” There was a distinct pause.
“Really? Great. So… how did he vote?” It was like a little two-step pas de deux – he didn’t want to answer, and I didn’t want to hear the answer.
“He voted Aye.”
“Seriously? Awesome!” I said, before I could stop the rather unprofessional tribute from jumping out of my mouth.
“You’re happy about that?” the guy said.
“Well, yeah,” I said. “Why?”
“Because everyone else who’s called this afternoon has been furious.”
We spoke for ten more minutes about Shuler’s involvement in the Blue Dog coalition (yeesh), his concerns about troop support and fiscal waste. The guy was obviously relieved that he wasn’t going to get another ass-chewing from a pissed-off Shuler constituent, and pleased that there was at least one voice of support for Shuler’s vote. And I was relieved that Shuler, despite his "conservative Democrat" stance, wasn’t the kind of Democrat who would cross the line about the Iraq war.
So I suppose I’ll shoot off another fax to Shuier’s office this week, once I figure out what Murtha and Pelosi will put on the table next. I have a fax template already set up.
See, I know I’m not the only person in Henderson county who gives a shit about getting us out of this war. But I might be the only one with access to a fax machine and a telephone during Shuler’s office hours. And hell, the guy on the other end of the phone wasn’t that scary at all.