Friday, June 9, 2017

2017-06-09: taking it up a notch--personal visits to Burr and Tillis' offices.

In DC today, I took the time to attempt to see Senators Burr and Tillis in person to hear their position and plan for action specifically on:

  • Climate Change
  • Impeachment proceedings after the obvious obstruction of justice measures taken by trump revealed in the Comey memos and testimony
  • Removal of perjurers from office, specifically Pruitt and Sessions
Sadly, though not unexpectedly, neither senator was available for a drop in handshake from me, especially after they learned what I wanted to talk about.  Burr turned out to be 'out of town' and Tillis, after the aide went to see if he was available, was in a meeting.  Burr's aide was the most disappointing, where he told me half truths, attempted to debate the reality of climate science (with a poly-sci degree) and in a round about way, called me a liar.

Relatively speaking, Tillis' office was a breath of fresh air, where the aide actually went to see if it was possible for me to meet the senator in person, when he turned out to be too busy, he referred me to their legislative aide specializing in environmental matters, and was happy to write down every word I wished to convey to the senator, which he promised to do in person, and when I gave him my name he said, "OH!" with some excitement, "Your Peter Brezny.  I've read some of your postcards!"  Which made us both smile.  "Yes, some of them are a bit pointed" I admitted..."Desperate times." I said.  He nodded in acknowledgement, pen at the ready to take down my concerns.

No surprise but a big disappointment from Burr's office.

Both offices really wanted to know what I what I was there to talk about before they decided which aide to send me to.  In Senator Burrs office, after a polite, female, African American woman from Eastern NC, the principal receptionist (and in my mind, the ultimate attempt at social-green-washing from Burr) made sure I was comfortable with offers of coffee, water, or soda, I was shunted to Mr John C. McDonald, III, a pudgy, young man from Durham, NC with a degree in political science and aspirations of becoming a senator himself one day, but admittedly, without the funds to make it there.

At the end of our conversation and in spite of my request, he took no notes, but did tap the side of his temple and say, 'I've got it all right here', and instead of simply agreeing to convey my comments to the senator, which I came in person to do, all he wanted to do was debate climate change science, parroting what he has heard off of fox news apparently attempting to change my mind.

This man was a serious tool, and not the sharpest one in the shed, but a good 'hard talker' which I'm sure brought some level of pleasure to the leaders of the staff.  A good loyal dog to 'sick on the liberals' when they came crying about climate change, 'the gays' and human rights.

"I've written the senator many postcards, and received only a single, two sentence reply." I told Mr. McDonald.  

"We don't write two sentence replies"  He quipped.

"That's all I've received, one response, for nearly one hundred post cards sent to Senator Burr."

"Oh those pre-printed cards?" he chuckled.

"No, hand written ones, nearly one hundred of them, with printed addresses on the other side"

Mr. McDonald scrunched up his face, and replied, "Well I doubt that, we never write short replies and we always write back."

I promised I had the letter and could show it to him if he liked, but it was clear he didn't really care, either way...

At this point I really didn't know how to respond.  This jackass was telling me, that I hadn't sent correspondence to Burr--I guess I should have had him read this blog...regardless of being somewhat taken aback, I pressed on with the issue of climate change.

"This is about Paris isn't it?"  He asked.

"No, It's about avoiding the worst consequences of climate change, it's about creating new, better jobs, in larger quantities than the fossil fuel industry ever can, it's about doing the right thing for our planet and humanity.

To which he incredulously wanted to know if I though climate change was simply going to wipe out humans all together.  At this point I just started to feel sorry for this guy.  Here he was, half again my junior, and with possibly a third of the science education and even less of an understanding of our environment, and he chose to treat me, a constituent of the senator, as if I were an idiot.

We went interminably round and round as he continued telling me that my 'apocalyptic' scenarios were simply unrealistic, that renewable energy was impractical, that it was impossible to stop burning fossil fuel etc...

Regardless, I pressed on and finally, after the third time I said, 'I'm not hear to debate the reality that humans caused climate change, I'm here to have you convey my thoughts in person to the senator."

"OK, well, what would you do about it?"  He demanded, after removing his hand which had been partially covering his mouth when he told me that the Senator does believe that humans have contributed to climate change, as if he were crossing his fingers behind is back to make it OK to lie to constituents directly.

"Remove subsidies for fossil fuel companies."  I said.  "It's really that simple..."

"Which ones" he interrupted, wanting to know, with some zeal, if I could name the lavish subsidies handed out to the likes of Exxon/Mobile...many of which, no doubt, have been well hidden in the recesses of the 'discretionary budget' far away from the average voter's prying eyes.

"ALL OF THEM"  I replied.

And then, Mr. McDonald the III proceeded to explain to me that most subsidies don't really go to fossil fuel companies but in general the mining industry, at which point, all I began to hear was, bla bla bla, 

This toddler in a man's body was wasting my time.  

He was so squarely grounded in the fear based, scarcity minded, 'we have to burn fossil fuel, there's no other way' myopic, defeatist, status quo, BS, that all he could do was parrot half truths and cleverly worded twists of political jargon to make it sound like they cared, most of which he had likely heard from his pals at Duke Energy.

Like Senator Burr, this man is a disgrace to our government, and thanks in part to him, its clear the process is entirely broken.  Like the postcards I continue to send to his office which I now suspect most hit the trash can without even being considered or perhaps even tallied for the Senator at all, I would be quite surprised if he conveyed a single word of what I had to say to the Senator.

But what does Burr care any how, he's got his lifetime lavish salary, thanks to us tax payers, and he's not running for office again, so why bother listening to his constituents.

So I just asked Mr. McDonald one more time, to please convey my thoughts to the senator, summarizing again the three points I came to get across above, and headed down the hall to find Senator Tillis, hoping for better luck there, which thankfully I did.  At least Tillis has aide's willing to do their job.


  1. Thanks for doing this, Peter. I suspect that, had you had checkbook in hand, the two senators may miraculously been back in town with the =ir meeting cancelled.

  2. Thanks, for this. I expect you are correct. I did call and ask to speak to the supervisor of Mr. John C. McDonald III, who appeared genuinely dismayed as I relayed my experience with the senator. She dutifully took my contact information, and has not called me back...

  3. Pudgy doesn't matter; stupid sure does. As well as harmful, ignorant, corrupt, paid-for..... they're all rotten. Thank you for trying and writing of it. It's real life examples of government gone wild, in the wrong way.