When I wrote about a legislator’s role as an information analyst the comments initially centered on Sen. Bob Bennett because of a quote I had used despite my desire to not single anyone out. Later in the comments on that post I made this statement that deserves to be elevated to its own post here:
In my opinion, the best defense against staying too long and becoming part of the problem is to maintain communication with constituents that is open enough for the constituents to indicate when the officeholder is compromising too much (or not enough in some rare cases) and the integrity to step aside when the officeholder finds that they consistently cannot act in accordance with the feedback they are receiving from constituents in good conscience.
Now that Senator Bennett has demonstrated a refusal to maintain open communication with constituents I am singling him out and exposing his refusal to communicate openly.
The senator wrote on his campaign website that the time for Republicans to stand up and fight is now – I could not agree more with that sentiment but when I wrote a comment that was not absolutely complementary to the senator the result was naked censorship.
Here is my non-complementary, but hardly inappropriate comment:
The fight is now and it’s time for new, fresh ideas and fresh faces. It’s time for the old generals to ride off into the sunset where they can share their experience while allowing younger, fresher faces to carry the banner.
Bob, you’ve been in Washington since before the 1994 “republican revolution.” Let’s have a show of hands from all those who think we’re better off now than we were when you were elected in 1992.
You are among the crowd that managed to achieve Republican majorities in both houses of Congress and the presidency during which time our Republican elected officials failed us as miserably as they could.
We do need change (not the kind Obama, Reid, and Pelosi are pushing), the fight is now, and some of us are not insane enough to think that we can get a different result by sending the same people back to Washington that we had between 2000 and 2008 – because last time we were “victorious” we were either deceived by most of you or else you seriously let up. I for one do not intend to let this coming opportunity pass by with more of the same.
Comments on the senator’s site are moderated – and I have no problem with that – but if only one point of view is to be accepted in the comments integrity would dictate that this should be stated on the site. I even went so far in my efforts to encourage the senator to not censor me as to make my comment public and predict that it would be removed.
I had captured a screen-shot of my comment in moderation:
Later I returned and found that my comment had not been approved while many complimentary comments were approved (note the times on the comments which prove that moderation had taken place since I left my comment at 5:54pm).
I try to avoid calling a person’s integrity into question and will stop short of doing so now, but I will say that open communication is a prerequisite to being able to exercise integrity in response to communication from constituents. I stated that the antidote to becoming part of the problem was open communication combined with sufficient integrity to step aside if the time comes that an elected official cannot accept feedback and continue to act in good conscience in whatever capacity they are elected to act in. It is impossible to demonstrate such integrity while actively censoring a select portion of the feedback being offered. Based on the responses when I shared my comment on Twitter it is safe to say that I am not alone in the concerns and opinions I shared. If Bennett cannot accept the existence of those honest opinions then he has no business in public office – with or without personal integrity.