Politicians are supposed to represent the people. To speak for those who have no other voice.
Not to parrot hand-fed answers and read from a script ‒ for that, we have actors.
Less than a week after she was audibly fed answers by Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch during a press conference, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley was caught playing with her phone during a debate. Several different videos taken during the debate show extended periods of scrolling, eyes locked onto her phone screen, as her competitors engage in an interactive debate.
Her behavior was disrespectful and irresponsible.
An aide claimed she was merely taking notes, to assist in her replies during the debate. The only problem with that is, in order to take notes on a phone, one must type.
Not just scroll. Scrolling is really best for reading ‒ perhaps reading notes and instructions being sent from one's staff. And if one checks out any of the multiple videos shot during the debate, one sees an awful lot of scrolling.
Even if she was taking notes, they should have been brief thoughts jotted down. Things she might like to mention when it's her turn to talk. Not the start to a novel.
Watching Crowley at that debate was a little bit too much like catching a fellow teenager cheating on an Algebra test, notes written up and down her arms in black felt marker. Only this time, we're not teenagers. We are all as grown up as we are going to get. This is it America. We are the adults. And that one's still got Cliff's notes.
While we have no problem with a politician fighting for police and firefighters, we have to wonder ‒ what happens if someone else gets into her ear?
What if, years down the road, after we've given this woman even more power she clearly has no idea what to do with, a new voice starts to whisper in her ear. Maybe this voice offers her more power, but maybe this voice has other interests at heart. Oil, perhaps. Or big business.
That's the thing about power. Even if you don't have the slightest idea what to do with it, it's a damn strong cocktail. Addictive too, after a few sips.
Isn't this how our country got into this mess in the first place? By electing puppets who politely repeat their lines, instead of politicians who fight for what matters to the people who elected them?
Can you imagine what a great country this could be, if only we could be bothered to run it? If we just made a real attempt to choose the people best suited to run the government ‒ rather than those with the best bloodlines for the job ‒ we'd have world peace within a year!
Furthermore, the job Crowley's applying for is to be a congressional representative. She will represent you, on the United States Congress. You, personally. Is that how we want the rest of America to see Queens?
If you were presenting yourself on a national level, would you let people whisper answers to you? Even if, for whatever reason, you'd decided were going to be nothing more than a pawn, wouldn't you at least learn your lines before debates, so you don't have to check them during?
If this is the sort of representative we send to Congress, whose voice will she speak with? Whoever can whisper loud enough, apparently.