As I turned onto my street about an hour ago, I discovered both sides were lined with cars and Mark Kirk (R-IL) for Congress signs and flags in most lawns. My across the street neighbor was having a tea. Oh goody. Hopefully, my Dan Seals (D) for Congress sign would still be in my yard, but it's been known to disappear before.
Pulling closer to my house, I noticed him standing in my neighbor's driveway and I realized there was no place for me (the homeowning taxpayer) to park. Normally, this would not be a problem because I would simply park in my driveway. Unfortunately, my town is in the middle of replacing my street and they started on the curbs on my side of the street, just poured the concrete yesterday, and we have not been given the clearance to park in our own driveways yet. Given how much stuff I had to bring into my house (I had been meeting with some clients), I wasn't about to park a block away just because all the GOPers were having a party. I pulled right into my driveway figuring if someone says something to me, I'll blame my violation of the rules on my Congressman.
Settled into my driveway, one of my neighbors walked across the street to greet me. She said "Congressman Kirk is across the street to meet with all the neighbors. Everyone's invited . . . except you because you have a Dan Seals sign in your yard."
To be honest, I'm not sure I remember the last time someone spoke to me that way. It made my blood boil. It's not that I want to be invited to a GOP coffee because let's face it, if I was there, I would have to point out all of his lies, but no one needs to speak to me in such a condescending manner. You can be certain that I told her exactly why I'm not voting for Kirk and am voting for Dan Seals.
Since I am obviously not going to be given the opportunity to speak to my Congressman, here's what I would have told him.
1. You don't really care what your constituents think. I hate that you call at 6:30pm (or other random times) with a recorded message that says "We're having a town hall meeting via conference call NOW and if you'd like to participate press 1." I have, in fact, pressed one a few times only to discover that I am not allowed to ask questions. What's up with that? Other times, the calls come at completely bad times and I've just hung up. These calls completely irritate me. I'd like to participate. I'd like to hear what my Congressman has to say. I want to ask him questions. And if I knew about the calls IN ADVANCE, I would be able to plan an evening around them. I've called his office numerous times about this and never get an answer to my complaint.
2. I am troubled by your hypocrisy. Mark Kirk, although being a member of the Naval Reserve, did not go to Iraq when his unit was called up during this war. Instead, he served his time at the Pentagon. It must be nice to have that option. His reason was that he would put his unit at risk by being there. I hate to burst his obviously inflated ego, but I don't think anyone in Iraq cares about him. But it's a nice message to send to the folks back home: "I'm in the Reserves, but am too important to serve."
3. Judgement matters and you don't have it. Mark Kirk supported the War in Iraq. In fact, he authored the resolution to go to war and has voted 12 times against a withdrawal. He also took money from Halliburton and then voted to protect Halliburton's Iraq contracts.
4. Off-shore drilling isn't going to lower gas prices for at least 10 years, if at all. Mark Kirk loves off-shore drilling and takes money from oil companies.
5. You're too much of a "yes man." Mark Kirk has voted in line with President Bush's wishes 88% of the time.
6. Uninsured Americans cost us all more and aren't uninsured because they're lazy or don't want health insurance. He voted AGAINST SCHIP which would give healthcare coverage to impoverished kids.
7. No Child Left Behind isn't working. Ask any teacher. He supports President Bush's "No Child Left Behind," but refuses to fund it.
8. Gas costs too much. When Mark Kirk was running for office in 2000, gas was under $2 per gallon. At my neighborhood gas station, it's $3.95 today. Why is that? Why doesn't he do anything about this?
9. You're out of touch. He voted against extending unemployment insurance and refused to support any measures that would help homeowners facing foreclosure due to predatory lending because we live in a very high income district.
10. Why do you hate women? Finally, as a woman, I cannot ever support someone who opposed the Paycheck Fairness Act and Lilly Ledbetter Act which would have ensured pay equity for women. He was worried it would create lawsuits. How dare we want to enforce laws and get equal pay for equal work, when we're currently making $0.77 for every $1 a man earns.
When I see Mark Kirk, I see President Bush's lackey. He's a significant part of the problem in Washington these days. I want my Congressman to have a clue what goes on in our district. I want him to be someone who listens to members of the district, rather than telling us what he wants us to hear.
I'm voting for Dan Seals, who will work to end this debacle in Iraq, support my right to control my body and support a real energy policy that will include alternative forms of energy.
Oh, my yard sign is still there and I'm loving the fact that my car is parked squarely in my driveway with 4 Obama, Dan Seals, and anti-war stickers on it! But if my yard sign disappears, you bet I know who will get my first call of anger.
Sources: Mark Kirk's Congressional Website, Kirk Facts, Where Was Mark Kirk?, Dan Seals for Congress, Ellen of the 10th, and Progress Illinois.