A Constituent's Plea
By Debra Scott Hierlmeier
March 13, 2001
"We want legislation that serves to benefit the masses and is not
guided by the desires of special interest groups and large corporations.
We are disgusted with the politics of personal destruction
that is merely dirt swept under the rug until election time comes,
and it then becomes mud hurled viscously through the air at our expense.
We are tired of hearing our needs will be met. Once the final ballots are counted
then the mud settles to dust once again, ears and doors become closed,
and the people's needs are again sacrificed to earn the next campaign dollar."
To My Elected Representatives:
As a constituent concerned about my state and country, I feel compelled to contact those whom have been elected to represent me and convey my sentiments about issues that I feel are of important significance. I feel that I have always been a politically aware citizen; however, Election 2000 for me, as for many others, served as a wake up call that being aware will no longer suffice. Current political agendas and actions have forced me to expand my awareness into action. I feel there exists a necessity to make the voice of the people heard by people such as you. I believe you are charged with a responsibility and duty to listen to citizens, like me, that you have been elected to represent.
The thirty-six days that followed our National Election exposed a host of questions about our government that still remain unanswered, unaddressed, and very troubling. Florida was put in the spotlight and under the microscope of the nation's eye. What was revealed was appalling! For the first time in my near half-century of life I was embarrassed and ashamed of the system I have studied and been so proud of throughout my life. The institution that epitomized my belief that America was truly a land where justice was blind and present for all deeply disappointed me. I do not believe the individual who now commands the executive branch of our government was elevated to that position by the people. Furthermore, the policies being advocated by this administration do not have a mandate from the American public. I view recent actions taken as a threat to our basic civil rights, women's rights, economy, our public education system, the separation of church and state, our environment, the care of our elderly, sick, poor, and the working-classes of America. I see a blatant disregard for bi-partisanship to meet the needs of the American public and an agenda to reward only an elite few and further separate America into socio-economic classes and partisan division.
Perhaps what haunts me most is the fact that the media and even Congress itself has focused on further defamation and investigation of President Clinton rather than the true issues of importance that currently face our nation. If as much money and time had been vested in investigating the Iran-Contra affair or the irregularities of Election 2000 than has been spent on attempting to discredit our 42nd president perhaps the American citizen would have gained true knowledge of our system of government. Former Supreme Court Justice Lewis Brandeis once stated, "Sunshine is the best disinfectant." Perhaps the debacle in the Sunshine State was a harbinger that government, both state and federally, needs a good dose of sunshine. People are no longer relying solely on the mainstream media that appears to be attempting to program us rather than inform us. Technology has made enormous strides in the way we can communicate and seek information. Quite possibly we have been presented with the tool needed to make the most important check and balance in our system of government we, the people.
I implore you, as my elected representatives, to rise to the challenge of what Thomas Jefferson described as the only true purpose of government: "to make the people happy." We demand that our right to vote and have that vote counted be a priority so that we, the people, rather than a select few in positions to disenfranchise our vote, can choose our leaders. We want the Fourteenth Amendment to apply to the masses, and not to just one wealthy and well-connected individual! We want a judiciary that fulfills the needs of the people in administering impartial justice that is accessible and blind to the diversity among us. We want legislation that serves to benefit the masses and is not guided by the desires of special interest groups and large corporations. We are disgusted with the politics of personal destruction that is merely dirt swept under the rug until election time comes, and it then becomes mud hurled viscously through the air at our expense. We are tired of hearing our needs will be met. Once the final ballots are counted then the mud settles to dust once again, ears and doors become closed, and the people's needs are again sacrificed to earn the next campaign dollar.
I am truly a concerned citizen at this point. Concerned that the unalienable rights we believe are ours exist only when those in government allow us to exercise them. Far too many law enforcement officials have forgotten that their role is to serve and protect and instead exercise their authority to abuse and harass with little fear of recrimination. The current judicial system makes it difficult to obtain justice when the average citizen encounters such violation of civil liberties. No individual should be above the laws that are written to govern us all. Perhaps if our teachers were paid a fraction of what attorneys charge for us to attempt to protect our rights in court, we would find our children benefiting and our prison population declining. We cannot return women to a day when they lacked legal medical assistance in their reproductive rights. Medicine and medical care must be affordable and accessible to all. We cannot rely on faith-based social services that jeopardize the separation of church and state. We also cannot destroy our public educational system by subsidizing private schools with tax dollars. Thomas Jefferson's vision was that our public schools would give every child an equal education, a chance at the American dream, and produce each new generation's future guardians of liberty.
America faces many challenges in the new millennium. You, as an elected official, currently have the power to influence what legacy we will leave for future generations. I know my forefathers and mothers sacrificed much to seek a dream in the home of the free and the land of the brave. I ask that your conscience be your guide as you deliberate on the issues that are arising in government. Americans will accept legitimate government, but we will never be ruled. And we intend to be heard!
Debra Scott Hierlmeier