Epic Fail

State Representative Andrew Brenner staged a door-to-door campaign today in Delaware, Ohio, to promote Governor John Kasich’s legislative agenda.  He wanted to have a “Super Saturday” event to “instruct” people on how to vote on two of Ohio’s upcoming ballot issues.

In the State Rep’s own words, “Historically, the “no” vote wins referendums. It is essential that we get out an instruct people to vote YES!!! on Issues 2 and 3.

Both issues are essential elements of bringing jobs and economic prosperity to Ohio. I was so proud to be your Representative in this historic year for Ohio. We balanced our budget, lowered taxes and eliminated an $8 billion budget shortfall left to us by the previous Democrat-controlled government. The economy is back on the right track after decades of mismanagement.”  (He hates when I quote him, but I would hate for you to think this was my grammar.)
 
So, knowing that he was going to be at the Tim Horton’s in Delaware to greet his supporters and fellow campaigners, and knowing that, according to his website, he was looking forward to seeing me there, and having heard that the local Democratic Party members had decided to stage a peaceful protest in front of the place to show their dislike for his decision to not remit taxes the the IRS according to the law, I decided, what the hey . . . I could use some coffee.
 
Arriving at the coffee shop, making my way through the 20 or so peaceful supporters with signs that said “tax cheat” and “Andy pay your taxes,” I went in for my cuppa.  Inside, my State Rep. was at a front table with a young man I soon learned does not work for him whose name is Justin.   Andy, the aforementioned State Representative, was taking pictures of the peaceful protesters with his camera phone.  That looked interesting, so I took my french vanilla and stepped over to the table.  After all, I am a constituent of his, having lived in Ohio House District 2 for more than 20 years and having voted in just about every election during that time.
 
As readers know, I’ve had a hard time reaching the Representative, so wow, what a great opportunity to share some thoughts and ask some questions.  After all, according the the website of the Ohio House of Representatives, “A State Representative is an elected official whose job is to serve as a direct link between those Ohioans he or she was elected to represent and state government. In order to best fulfill this role, a representative responds to constituent concerns and works to provide solutions through legislative action. In order to best serve their constituents, a state representative attends meetings of their local civic, social and business groups in addition to responding to mail, email and telephone correspondence from constituents in their district.”
 
So I asked Andy why he was taking the pictures.  He didn’t like that.  I asked him why Prestige Music, a company for which he serves as vice president, had not remitted the taxes they had withheld from employees.  He really didn’t like that.  I asked him what he had against teachers, firefighters and cops.  That was a real low in the conversation.   I tried to stay positive.
 
He said he didn’t know who I was.  I was aghast that we had never been properly introduced.  After all, this is a man who authored a blog in 2006 saying that I would look good in prison stripes and insinuating that Jail Break was my favorite show.  He made some wild accusations on the internet at that time about my personal and professional life, until the then-chair of the Executive Committee of the County GOP told him to take it down.  I reminded him of that.  Again . . . not a happy man.
 
Among the things our gallant State Rep told me this morning were that he didn’t have to answer to me because he works only for the “majority of the voters.”  Guess he checked my voting record.  Oh that’s right — he doesn’t know who I am.  He has “had enough of me.”  But I thought he didn’t know who I am.  He said I made anonymous posts about him on the internet.  Now that’s just plain silly — how could they be anonymous if he knows who made them?  Besides, I’m proud of my writing.
 
The best part was when he grabbed his phone and took my picture.  I waved and smiled.  I told him I would go to the car and get my camera and then we could have pictures of each other.  But when I got back from the car, he was gone.  I saw him later, out beside the dumpster with four other guys.
 
Before I left the coffee shop, I ran into a retired military man who was looking for Andy.  He had come to walk with him.  We debated the various aspects of the legislation in question.  This gentleman was so nice and I completely understood his point of view, although I don’t agree with him.  We agreed to disagree.  When he told me he had never actually met our State Rep, I offered to introduce him — explaining I had only recently met him myself.  I sincerely wished that his gallantry and manners would rub off on little Andy. 
 
I explained that Andy was back hiding behind the dumpster so he and I walked slowly across the parking lot, enjoying the sunshine and the conversation.  I led him up to the group and introduced him to his elected representative.  I wished them a good day . . . and I meant it.  Everyone’s point of view deserves to be heard.  That’s a part of this great experiment in democracy.  Now if we could just find a way to teach that to our politicians.
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