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Dear Senators and Representatives of the 115th Congress:
I am writing to respectfully ask you – all of you – to stop hiding behind the smokescreen of “but they made me do it.” No one makes you vote the way the way you do. No one forces to into your choices.
Case in point: the recent bitter battle over the Neil Gorsuch nomination to the Supreme Court. To the Republicans who went “nuclear” to confirm the nomination with a simple partisan majority, the Democrats didn’t make you do this.
You could have chosen to halt the pell-mell rush to confirmation and to allow calm and considered debate. You might have even gotten your 60 votes that way, without the unprecedented implosion of senate tradition, which degrades appointments to the highest court in the land to a game of ping-pong where the party in power is the only side playing.
Oh, and Democrats, please remember that you yourselves instituted this very type of table tennis for lower court nominations in a previous administration.
I do understand some of the reasons many of you chose to filibuster. First, and obviously, is the non-hearing for Merrick Garland during the last administration, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell fails to even mention when he bemoans your own obstructionism.
I also understand that some of you have actual concerns about Judge Gorsuch’s ideology, and his independence from the current administration. But no one made you choose the filibuster, which you knew would then, in turn, launch the nuclear option, because the Republicans made it clear that you would “force” them to do it.
You are all politicians, for goodness sake! Get political, in all the right senses of the word. Act in the best interests of the country and the people you represent.
Senators and Representatives, I admire your dedication to public service. I do. That’s why I’m taking this opportunity to remind you that your service is to the public … to the people of your respective states and to Americans as whole. Not to the government, not to the administration, and not to the president. You serve at our pleasure, and you work for us.
Here’s the thing: when I vote for you (or your opponent, as the case may be), I am voting for you, not just for your ideology or your positions, and certainly not for your promises. I vote for your integrity and your ability to reason.
Administrations change, people change, situations change, and so I have to count on you to make the best decisions you can with the information you have at the time.
Please, please don’t let me and my fellow Americans down by failing to use your integrity and your reason. Please don’t tell me someone else forced you to act in a way that many of you have admitted you don’t even agree with. You have other choices.
Some of the finest among you have called the April 7, 2017, rules change in the upper chamber “one of the darkest days in Senate history.” I implore you, please don’t extend those dark days, for the sake of the country you say you hold dear, and the people you proclaim to serve.
Andrea Doray is a writer who can’t seem to stop asking, “What are they thinking?” Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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