by Chrystal Doyle
Immediately after the 2016 elections, I felt disheartened and defeated. But, I’m a doer. So, I shifted that defeat into resilience and motivation to find out more about my local and state representatives. I had no idea that what I would learn would change my life. I had no idea that State and National policies supported by MY representatives threaten the values my family and I hold dear. In response I have signed petitions, emailed, made phone calls, protested—all things I have never done before. And today I actually visited my Congressman’s office for the first time.
My Congressman is David Brat—the one has accused me and other women of “getting up my grill” and hosting a brief Facebook Live “Town Hall” instead of an actual event. The one who is a guest speaker at another Congressman Paul Gosar’s town hall in Arizona after saying he is too “busy, busy, busy” to hold one within Trump’s first 100 days. The one who as of today still hasn’t scheduled one in his own district. That one.
Dave Brat’s damaging policy initiatives motivate me to know my neighbors and pursue Progressive change. I felt so emboldened that I didn’t schedule an appointment. I just showed up. With fudge. And my eight-year old son and his friend. I figure they should know where their Congressman’s office is and learn that they have a voice too.
Everyone was very pleasant after you get past Security and Nancy. My 8-year old, his friend, and I got the grand tour from Chief of Staff Phil Rapp. He was very warm, engaging, and seemingly genuine. He and I spoke privately for over 30 minutes, during which he respected my concerns and we discussed the ways in which Brat does not represent me and my values. I also shared my expectations of of my representative. I left him with a specific “ask” too. I asked for Brat to make a public statement that he respects his constituents opinions and does not think that we are paid protesters. Rapp expressed thanks, assured me Brat respects the thoughts of his constituents, and promised to share my thoughts and expectations with Dave Brat.
And, then I came home and listened to Brat’s public comments on The John Fredericks Show from two days prior. After enduring the 20 minute segment, I wrote Mr. Rapp this follow up letter thanking him for our meaningful, impromptu meeting and reinforcing my concerns about my Congressman.
Dear Mr. Rapp,
I felt you and I had a decent conversation today and I appreciate your time. I actually shared positive words about my experience in Congressman Brat’s Glen Allen office with friends. But, what did I find when I came home? This recent audio:
Mr. Rapp, you need to let Congressman Dave Brat know that his “35,000 hits” on his Live Facebook town hall were ALL his constituents. WE are not funded by the “hard Progressive Left.” I don’t even know what that means. I’m not a member of Black Lives Matter. And, I don’t know anything about Soros. Who is that? I know WE are not funded by anyone because I personally know hundreds of the brilliant, educated professionals in our community who have concerns about Brat’s policy positions and who are spending their own time and resources to speak out against his policies that threaten our values and liberties.
He is correct that we “were not there two years ago.” We “were not there two years ago” because we felt like the Country we love was moving forward supporting Progressive values and reforms—values and reforms like Christian love for our neighbors, respect for the environment, and more. So, he’s right, “we were not here two years ago.” We probably weren’t even here six months ago. BUT, WE ARE HERE NOW. And, as our Representative, he needs to respect ALL of his constituents, listen to us, and own that many of his constituents are not happy. He even stated, “the Progressive Left is very upset.” That is an understatement. We are 35,000 hits unhappy. We are showing up in numbers unhappy. We are in his grill unhappy. He is lying about what is happening in his district.
We are Patriots too and we will resist tyranny and oppression where we find it. In fact, in case he is unclear: Progressive thinkers are quite diverse and not unlike anyone else. We wave the American flag too. Many pray to God too. Many are (highly) educated too. Many teach at colleges too. He does not own knowledge, integrity, and values—nor does the Tea Party. If he is unclear about any of this, then I, and MANY others, are happy to share each and every one of these values we hold dear with you and Brat. EVERY DAY.
Again, he needs and I expect him to drop the “paid protestor” rhetoric
. I expect a public statement retracting this assertion. The only thing fueling opposition to him is HIM
. He is right, “We are afraid that he [Trump] will be successful.” We are afraid of deregulation, as evidenced by the environmental and public health catastrophes in Southern Louisiana
, that will cause irreparable damage to the environment and the health of people and this Country. I will gladly accept stagnant wages in exchange for clean air and water and improved health outcomes.
And, with regard to his statement about the Women’s March
in Washington, Brat was not at the Women’s March and he has no basis on which to speak. I was there. I took my 8 year old son that you met today. It was amazing. It was highly respectable. It was peaceful. It was clean. It was empowering. People were even recycling trash at the trashcans. Members of his Church were at the March. I know because I was there with them. Maybe he doesn’t know so much about the people at his church because he’s spent too much time in Washington and detached from the NEW REALITY in his District 7. So, he needs to tell the truth or stay quiet about something he doesn’t know anything about. HE IS LYING. He calls himself “transparent” and “ethical” but when he opens his mouth HE IS LYING.
He concludes by saying, “keep it positive.” Is that a joke? Did he just publicly speak poorly of his constituents and then ask people to “keep it positive?”
I expect a reasoned response. I don’t want you to feed me lines or placate me. I don’t want to be told I’m unreasonable or I don’t understand. You met me. I am a real person. I am a highly educated, rational, reasonable person who also serves the community. Dave Brat will not tell lies about me and his constituents. As long as Dave Brat is lying and acting in ways that I believe are not in the best interest of my eight-year old son, his friends, and all of the children at my school, then I will stay vigilant and diligent.
With great expectation of respectful leadership by my Congressman,