Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dear Congressman

Dear Congressman Price,

I know our relationship hasn't always been the best. I was reluctant at the beginning--even when you visited my high school to encourage an interest in the political process among juniors and seniors, I had a low opinion of you. Like my parents, at the time, I thought "Republican" was the way to go--and that meant somehow you were the bad guy.

But you've managed to keep your seat time and time again, and now as a slightly older and more mature voter, I look at you differently. I remember seeing you at the fundraising dinner for the Muslim American Public Affairs Council--that organization does not impress me, but that you made an effort to show up at an event for Muslims did. I realized then that you weren't afraid of Muslims like some of your fellow Congressmen are.

And since then, I've started to understand your role in the Congress. Sure, reading Charlie Wilson's War gave me new eyes towards Appropriations Committees! Your place as Chair of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee undoubtedly colors my opinion of your usefulness in the Congress, and knowing that you aren't afraid of Muslims has convinced me that you are a good person to be in your job, especially with the intense distrust I seem to have of most members of Congress.

I also remember that letter you wrote to Secretary of State Rice about Blackwater, about the fundamental injustice of failing to hold private contracting firms against the law, if they broke it. And I remember your bill, which was passed, to make sure that the government was able to prosecute crimes of contractors in war zones (like Iraq), because the last thing we need is an armed force who is above the law--even above our own laws!

I also recently learned that you helped evacuate a number of Arab Americans who were stuck in Gaza during the Lebanon War. I can point out that the first Muslim Congressman, Keith Ellison, has endorsed you. And more poignantly, a good friend of mine who interned in your office has provided for the Muslim community a beautiful heartfelt endorsement.

I was rather astonished when I read, however, that MAPAC had endorsed BJ Lawson who is challenging you for the seat. I heard some of my friends describe you as a bureaucrat (in the pejorative sense) a party Democrat, and a strong supporter of Israel. And then some of your supports amongst the Muslims argued that Lawson was influenced heavily by Ron Paul, an extremist in the Congress.

As it happens, I did support Dr. Paul and fundamentally agree with many of his principles. Reviewing Mr. Lawson's site I read his opinion that, "Democracy is simply tyranny of the majority," as a reason that we should not attempt to force democracy on the Middle East--a region with very little interest in it. The more I learn about him, I find that I do agree with many of his principles, and I would like to see a Congress with many people like him.

Unfortunately, I see Congress as a body that needs not an individual whom I support in order to act on my behalf, it actually needs a large group of like-minded Congressmen in order to get much done. And it would be helpful if those Congressmen can follow the leadership of a president who I feel is acting in the best interests of the country rather than his party.

And it is because I am so hurt already by the damage of a Republican Congress and a Republican White House that I am ready to see it all change. And even though I like Mr. Lawson, even though I might have supported him in better days, I feel that you are able to do more good right now than he could, and so it is more important for you to keep your seat.

But even though I feel like I might vote for you today, the question is whether my support will last for still another week...

1 comment:

Taiyyaba said...

Jazakallah khair, Amy. Thanks for thinking with your mind and heart open.