Thursday, April 19, 2012
When I get unwanted phone calls, I can be brusque, okay, maybe even rude. My home is my castle. A double-wide castle with old carpeting, a leaky toilet that the plumber can't seem to fix, and furniture far older than the house, but my castle nonetheless.
But I promised myself some time ago that I would listen patiently to find out who was encroaching on my serenity, and perhaps use the situation to offer some of my own wise thoughts to the outside world.
That said, I do get incensed when I send an email to one of my congressional representatives and they make me leave a phone number. That means you, Jim DeMint and Tim Scott. And when Scott also made me look up the last four digits of my zip code, it was the last straw. I added to my email the impression I had that requiring that information made it appear that Scott was attempting to cull the number of constituents that annoyed him with emails.
Well, being the go-getter that is our Tim Scott, he actually had some nice young guy call me, proving that he really made use of the phone number he required. We had a pleasant conversation, I think.
When the young man pointed out that someone without a phone number could just fill in zeros, I advised him that many people don't know that. And that interestingly, over the many emails I have sent Mr. Scott, the only call I have gotten was the one in response to my questioning his requiring the phone number in an email.
The plus-four part of the zip code was even more inspiring: this is so Scott will know exactly which area in his district the constituent is from.
Anyway, we went around on that nonsense for a couple of minutes and then I said, "Let me ask you this -- why do you support Tim Scott?"
And the nice young man began to tell me how much good Scott has done for his constituents, including when he was on the Charleston County Council...
I was glad he mentioned that. I brought up the fact that Scott voted against reinstating the $25 property tax that had been cut when tourism was booming, calling it a new tax and refusing to raise taxes. In fact, that $25 per $100,000 would have allowed the library to continue to function without cuts in the book budget and the county hiring freeze that has lasted over four years. The library may be the institution that most serves the poor, unemployed and underemployed. The library has provided books that schools can't afford for their classrooms and even school libraries.
I told the young man that I would have been happy to pay the additional $25 per year, but Mr. Scott's real constituents, those with the million dollar homes, would have then had to pay far more.
I then told him that I hoped that he would reconsider his support for Mr. Scott, and he politely said that he still believed that Scott's policies would help us all. I suggested that he might believe that now, but would be likely to think otherwise if he hit a rough patch.
I was proud of myself for being able to carry on a civilized conversation with this polite young man. I can't guarantee that I will be able to do it again, but I tell myself that just maybe my words will have given him a moment's pause from his support of a man who truly serves to fill the pockets of the greedy in an area in which so many are struggling to survive.