In December 2007 I got an e-mail from the folks at MoveOn.org asking if I would be willing to deliver a petition (signed by over 900 residents of our congressional district) to Congressman Greg Walden. I am not a joiner, and I don't agree with everything MoveOn says, but I resisted my own reluctance and agreed to do it, because I believed in what the petition said.
MoveOn sent me the names of several other people in our area who had agreed to meet at the congressman's office on Dec. 13. I called the congressman and reached his receptionist, who told me the office would be closed that particular day. I asked her if they would agree to at least have one of the staff stop by the office and receive the petition on behalf of the signers. She said, "No."
I called and e-mailed the Bend Bulletin and our local television station, and on the appointed day I drove from Redmond to the congressman's office. I and about 10 others shuffled from one foot to the other in the cold outside Walden's office. The TV cameraman interviewed me. I explained that the petition asked the congressman to work toward ending our current military involvement in Iraq. Then, at the top of the hour, we all went into the upstairs hallway and stood before the congressman's locked door. The cameraman filmed me sliding the petition under the locked door of my democratically elected representative.
Then we all went home. As far as I know, the story never appeared in the Bend Bulletin, and the TV interview was never shown. I received no acknowledgment from Greg Walden that the petition had ever been delivered, read, or discarded. I can understand that my personal view does not amount to much in the grand scheme of things, but I thought that the signatures and sincere comments of 1,000 of my fellow citizens might warrant at least an insult in return. I was wrong. Apparently, Mr. Walden thinks of himself as some sort of icon. Apparently, to have responded to our peaceful and rational request was beneath him.
Thanks, Congressman Walden, for the lesson in contemporary civics.