Pete and me
About every three days I water my basil and a little plant in my kitchen window, and I think of our Congressman, Pete Olson. You see, Pete sent me this plant which was in a basket with several other plants, long since dead now, when my brother died at my home on Christmas, 2007. I was devastated about his death and appreciated the outpouring of cards and a few plants from readers and friends. I think about my brother and Pete every time I water that plant.
I have noticed since Pete went to Washington he has voted strictly the party line. I know you may have to hold your nose for some votes in Washington and you have to go along to get along. I am not that politically naïve. But to only vote the party line 100% of the time tells me you are either disengaged, aren’t paying attention to the questions, or you are a zealot.
So I started calling Pete several times a week several months ago. I always leave my number, fully expecting him to call me back. I’ve called him in Washington; I’ve called him in Sugar Land; and I’ve called him in Clear Lake.
But until lately, Pete hasn’t called me.
I even ran into him at a breakfast for another local official. Everybody who knows me knows I don’t do breakfasts, but this was for one of my favorite people, Jacquie Baly-Chaumette. Plus I had noticed on the invitation that Pete might be there. Sure enough he was.
So I broached him and asked him why he never returned my phone calls. I told him that’s just how I got crosswise with Tom DeLay. People standing around us melted away as they didn’t want to be involved in a political cat fight between me and Pete Olson.
Pete bowed up and responded that I sent him a terrible letter some months back and for that reason he had not called me back.
I’m going to repeat that letter right here and you can judge for yourself if the letter was inflammatory or a reasoned call for action. I sent him this letter in April, 2009, in response to a mail out or e-mail I had received from his campaign office.
My letter said:
“Pete, I notice you’ve changed the rhetoric from Obama to Pelosi. I guess that is in response to Obama’s continued popularity. I think that is smart because you turn people off when you simply attack him. But you turn me off when you attack a woman.
Pete, I’ve been a life-long Republican. My grandfather was the Republican County Chairman in Runnels County, Texas in the 50s. But that was when the Republicans were the voice of reason before they sold out to the Dixiecrats and the Religious Right.
I was embarrassed by our party’s reception of the Dixiecrats, but since I didn’t consider myself racist, I let it pass. I even ignored the move to the Religious Right and tried to change that by volunteering to be precinct chair and fighting that narrowness from the inside.
Tom DeLay was the first politician to make me question my values and those of the Republican Party.
Then along came George Bush and his pandering to the Religious Right, his war on Iraq, and his unbridled spending. Eight years of that plus the hypocrisy of many Republicans with their belief in the right to life AND the death penalty just about did me in.
Now I think the Democrats are just as guilty of politicizing every issue, just like the Republicans, but I’m telling you I am sick, sick, sick of it. I have decided that I am a social liberal and a fiscal conservative, but I don’t think every economic problem can be solved by a tax cut.
Tax cuts are nice, but SOMEBODY has got to pay for our government. The trick is just to keep our government affordable without huge tax increases. However, it seems that both political parties are only interested to supporting what is good for their party, not for the citizens. Oh, they try to couch it in terms of good for everybody, but most of us are not fooled.
I’m going to be very disappointed in you if you just adhere to the party line and never vote for the good of people in your district, or people everywhere. The Republicans have indeed become the party of “NO” and it’s silly they won’t confirm Obama’s appointments simply to be contrary. We need a government that works. His may not. But for the good of the country, we need to give him a chance.
And if you don’t want to hear from me, then quit sending me this drivel. Yes our government has expanded in the last 100 days, but what was Obama supposed to do with the mess that Bush left? Nothing?
Don’t be surprised when you see me editorialize against your actions when you vote simply for your party, not the people.
Now it would seem to me that if a newspaper publisher in my home district, even a little weekly newspaper, had sent me that letter, I would want to call that person and discuss it. Or at least I would return her telephone calls.
So let me get this straight. If I don’t kiss Pete Olson’s rear end, then I’m being “terrible.”
Well, I feel better. He knows where I am coming from, and I certainly know where he is coming from.
That was the only e-mail I have received from him that didn’t ask for money.
The reason I’ve been calling him recently is to complain about the totally biased questions I have received in the form of “surveys” from his office. I wonder how in the world these letters received the franking privilege (mailed at taxpayers expense) because they are so loaded.
Do you support a plan to increase taxes on high income filers and small businesses in order to finance a government run health care program?
Do you support or oppose limiting access to health care by placing a government bureaucrat between you and your doctor?
These are loaded questions because in question one, no one actually supports higher taxes on anything!
And in question two, no one supports placing a government bureaucrat between themselves and their doctor.
And in a press release, Olson said: “In order to finance this government expansion, Congressional Leaders (sic) have included hundreds of billions of dollars in tax increases on certain “higher income” tax filers - a majority of whom are small businesses.”
Perhaps Rep. Olson’s measure of a small business is different from mine, but in no stretch of the imagination are small businesses like mine “higher income” filers.
In fact, health insurance premiums have just about bankrupted us in the past few years. We’ve had to pay less of our employees portion and our insurance has become less and less over the past few years. We are now to the point that our deductible is $2,500.
I have to admit that in the flap over the president’s address to the school children, I liked Olson’s response. He said that he and his wife planned to use it as a teaching moment with their children. So I had quit trying to call Pete in the last month.
All of this brings us current to the point that last week Pete finally called me. Of course, I wasn’t in but I tried to call him back.
When I did try to call him back, his assistant told me that was not the way it was done. I had to talk to his scheduler, who would make arrangements for me to talk to him. I finally told his assistant that I would have my scheduler call his scheduler. “After all,” I told his assistant, “he called ME!”
“Oh, alright,” his assistant said, “I’ll tell him you called.”
I think Pete called me after that and again, I wasn’t in. I’m not sure and at this point, I really don’t know who called whom last. I really don’t care, and I think Pete doesn’t either.
B.K. Carter is the owner/publisher of the Fort Bend/Southwest Star. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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