What should we call a businessman who advertises himself as one thing, but in reality, turns out to be something else?
Rod Blum has been the Congressman from the First District of Iowa since 2014. From the beginning to the end of each year since, Representative Blum has been telling us all a story of himself which has turned out not to be true. “An ‘independent’ voice for Iowa” it reads on his official web page, still to this day, which is but a continuation of a yarn he’s been spinning for quite a while.
When I was walking door to door and spreading the good news of Pat Murphy, I was given the opportunity to hear from voters exactly what they thought the election was about. I spoke to members of the Democratic Party, independent voters and members of the Republican Party.
Want to know what they saw in Rod? He was a businessman, which said he could get things done in Washington. A candidate which would steadfastly work for the betterment of his people and advocate our causes as an independent voice in Congress.
Want to know how Rod has served in office? As an unfailingly, unacceptably, inconsistent voice for Iowa, for Dubuque — for each and every one of us who go to Loras, including you who are reading this now.
Like the cowardly businessman he has always been, Rep. Blum couldn’t muster the courage to host a town hall and face public scrutiny for his actions during Congress’ recess last week. Instead of defending his actions before a boardroom filled with his peers, Mr. Blum hides his face from the public eye. How can a man who refuses to listen to the public claim to speak with their voice and in their interest? Have we come to the point in time wherein we stop believing public servants should serve in the public’s interest?
Even after 2016’s divisive Presidential election and after six years of dysfunction in Washington, it seems to be that maybe we no longer care how our representatives act. I don’t believe that to be true. I think American citizens still agree on how they expect their chosen representative to behave. I believe we can all agree to that core, fundamental, principle of the American experiment: our U.S. government is to be of the people, run by the people and for the people. Holding town halls in congressional districts for the purpose of gathering public input is essential to this principle.
If you agree with me, then you can see the absurdity in Rep. Blum’s actions. He sold himself as a businessman who would keep himself independent of the horrors in Washington, but, in doing so, has kept himself independent from the interests of his people. Businessman Blum sold himself as the candidate which would be an independent voice for Iowa. As it has turned out, Rod’s voice in Congress is “independent” in that he has served only in his interests. Whether the consequences of his actions actually benefit our district doesn’t appear to matter one bit.
Rep. Blum should be regarded as nothing more than a swindler. A swindler who will vote in favor of ripping away health care coverage from my fellow citizens without any regard for their continued health and well-being. A swindler who will gleefully vote in favor of any bill containing tax cuts for the rich — a move which benefits him financially — because he thinks taxes are immoral. Rep. Blum has played the part of a hustler living out his dreams in the bustling city of Washington D.C., a man who happily spends our money and lives it up by celebrating his independence from the people he was elected to represent.