The Larger Meaning of Chris Collins

On the matter of Chris Collins. My thoughts as Chair of the Rush Democratic Committee

Donald Scheg, October 1, 2019

It is a sad day. The people of Rush, NY are not present in the House of Representatives. We are not at the table when momentous decisions are about to be made. Whatever your views, whatever your thoughts, whatever your Party, we are ALL left out.

So I ask, how did this happen? Yes, of course, there is the resignation of a man who put personal financial gain over principle; the resignation of a man whose focus was on himself and not on service to the people who placed their trust in him; the resignation of a man who consciously chose to violate the law. At the same time, I wonder...is it that simple? Just the result of one man's crime, one person's failings? Is all responsibility to be placed on him?

I say no. I think there is more. I believe the responsibility for why we are not represented goes far beyond one damaged individual. As we point the finger at Chris Collins, there are three fingers pointing back at us. Because just 11 months ago we chose this man to be our Representative. And why did we do that? How did we decide that he would be our person in the House? How did his election come about? I suggest the following as an answer:

Rather than base our voting decision on a person's integrity, a person's moral fiber, a person's intelligence, a person's character and commitment to service, we set those aside as unimportant, and blindly voted Party. Whether a Democrat or Republican, by so doing we forfeit our intelligence, our judgment, and give it to the cynical insiders who create our gerrymandered voting districts. By blindly voting Party we do not have to ask questions, we do not have to think, do not have to judge the quality of a man or woman. In a nutshell, we simply allow ourselves to be used. We vote for whom we are told. We give away our judgment and bow to the opinions of others we have never seen or talked with. As a result we are left with a Sheldon Silver, a Chris Collins, to name just two of many.

It may seem odd that the Chair of the Rush Democratic Party is saying this. I suppose many would say I should simply tout the many good things of the Party. But the fact of the matter is that any party, Republican or Democratic, is merely an organized vehicle used to present people to you for your consideration as your representative. We, the voters, MUST look beyond just voting along party lines. Use OUR judgment, use OUR intelligence, vote for the man or woman based on OUR values. Not party labels. Our community, indeed our country, depends on it.

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