Loaded Questions

My local Congressman, Mark Walker, recently sent me a piece of mail at taxpayer expense, thanks to the franking privilege which allows Congress to get things for free that their constituents have to pay for. So, I got to pick up the tab for a rigged survey of my opinions.

Despite pretending to be interested in what I think, the survey is obviously chiefly interested in advertising Rep. Walker’s pre-existing biases and gathering responses that will appear to validate them for use in his next run for office. Each question is like the sleight of hand artist who forces a card on he unwary so he can then demonstrate his clairvoyance by saying, “Did you pick the nine of hearts by any chance?”

I used to live in a marginally competitive district where a member of either party might get elected. I haven’t moved but, after several aggressive redrawings of districts by gerrymandering Republicans, a state that once had seven Democratic seats out of twelve now has three out of thirteen — or roughly 25 percent.

It might be argued that this change only reflects a change in the electorate, but it might as reasonably be argued that pigs are now flying. In fact, electoral experts regard North Carolina as the most gerrymandered state in the nation. Consider the fact that in statewide races for senate in 2014 and president in 2012, the vote was 50-50, not the 75-25 split of representatives produced by gerrymandered Congressional districts.

Walker was first elected to any political office in 2014, so is a beneficiary of this rigged process. He’s a Southern Baptist minister with a Bible College degree and no legislative experience. He did come armed with a tea party zeal to crush the wicked federal government. He has seats on committees in charge of Homeland Security and Government Reform, God help us all.

Walker’s views are exactly what you’d expect given his pedigree. He’s anti-tax, in favor of cutting government services to the bone, opposes the common core, is anti-abortion and pro-NRA. He wants government out of healthcare and opposes foreign aid. And he mocks the “so-called science of climate change.”

At a campaign event last year, he offered his plan to deal with immigration. Here’s the report from the Raleigh News and Observer:

“‘We got to go laser or blitz somebody with a couple of fighter jets for a little while to make our point’ to which the moderator asked if he had any qualms about starting a war with Mexico. Walker responded with ‘Well, we did it before, if we need to do it again, I don’t have a qualm about it.’”

His survey wants to know if his constituents want government to be more or less involved in their daily lives. It offers six choices for what government should do in my community — less regulation and intrusion, more money for roads, policies to stimulate the economy and attract business, overturning Obamacare, returning more services to rural areas or more oversight of the oil industry. Pick one.

We are also asked whether Social Security or Medicare are “fine as is” or unsustainable. Whether raising the debt ceiling is necessary or “indicative of Washington’s spending addiction.” I note that a smart man once said that all such binary choices are suspect. “Some questions can be answered yes or no only by a fool or a liar.”

Parson Walker also gives me a choice of how the government should address the deficit — cut welfare, cut entitlements like Social Security and Medicare, cut defense, eliminate the EPA or raise taxes. And he asks, should the government be able to spy on us without a warrant? Should there be more gun control or less? Should education “fall under local control” or the federal government?

It’s a dull student (or parishioner) who wouldn’t understand which are the right answers in this catechism and which will send you straight to hell. And Pastor Walker will surely use the “right answers” to justify his “right” agenda and ignore any wrong answers. In short, I am being treated like a chicken given the opportunity to participate in its own plucking. It’s been an honor to be of service, Reverend Walker. Say Amen, brothers and sisters.

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