As I write this letter, a group of concerned citizens who care deeply about the direction our country is headed have protested 85 consecutive Fridays outside of Congressman Fitzpatrick’s office. But not once in 85 weeks did Brian bother to visit us to hear our concerns. I guess if we wrote large checks to his campaign, he might have dropped by. But since we are only ordinary constituents who pay his salary with our tax dollars for him to represent us, I guess we don’t rate a visit. After a few Fridays, we realized it made more sense to change our name from “Fridays With Fitzpatrick” to “Fridays Without Fitzpatrick.” His continued absence proved that the name change was spot on.
Some of you might say “Why don’t you go to his town halls to express your concerns?” Well, the obvious answer is that the Congressman is afraid to have town halls. In contrast, Scott Wallace, his Democratic challenger, has already committed to having four town halls a year if elected. Scott also has attended our protests and listened to our concerns. And he isn’t even elected yet.
We are a peaceful bunch and most of us aren’t spring chickens either. But we are persistent, passionate, and proud to have shown up 85 times in all kinds of weather to express our outrage about the latest Republican administration assaults on fundamental American values. We share facts; we hold signs to the motorists on the bypass; we sing songs of protest. We often visit the Congressman’s staff who usually listen silently to our impassioned pleas and unemotionally accept our written complaints which, more often than not, go unanswered or answered with boilerplate propaganda that usually misses the mark about the heart of our valid concerns.
When the Republican administration separated kids from their mothers at the border and put them in cages, over 140 of us showed up. When the president, under Putin’s smirking face in Helsinki, disparaged the FBI Brian used to work for, we were naturally upset. His staff responded to our louder than usual voices by threatening to call the police. I guess they thought our loud voices were more dangerous than the fact of our country becoming subservient to the leader of a fascist state.
Most of us are Democrats so it is natural that we would disagree with Brian’s votes and policies. But what is galling to us is the hypocrisy. Brian brags about being an “independent moderate,” someone who “reaches across the aisle in the Problem Solver’s Caucus,” and who “represents the little guy in Levittown.” Yet he votes for the Trump agenda over 80% of the time. How can he know what “reaching across the aisle” means when he refuses to meet with constituents with different viewpoints who have been coming to his office for 85 weeks? Some of our protesters do live in Levittown and yet he has never spoken to them on Friday. We feel ignored and betrayed by a Congressman who fears honest open communication with his constituents in a forum where perhaps he can be challenged (and documented) about the wide discrepancy between what he says through his public images versus the Trumpian way he votes.
But we will not despair. We have persisted and will continue to do so. We have one more Friday until the November 6 election. And when because of your votes, we elect Scott Wallace to be our next Congressman, we won’t have to shiver or sweat in that parking lot any longer. We’ll simply go to one of Scott’s town halls and again feel respected as valued citizens in the democracy we love. Then every day, not just Friday, will be without a Congressman named Fitzpatrick.
Steve Cickay, Newtown