Who really represents you in congress could be a technicality? On my street, a community activist has several “Sanford Bishop for Congress” signs in his yard. I started to tell him that after the last redistricting, we can’t vote for Bishop and he doesn’t represent us anymore.
But, the thought occurred to me: “your congressman” isn’t necessarily the one who has your geographic district. For example, ultra-conservatives that live in Rep. Bishop’s 2nd congressional district of Georgia ignore his service because they want a far-right winger in office. For southwest and middle Georgia, Rep. Bishop and conservative Rep. Austin Scott actually listen to more of the opposition than most members of congress. While moderates appreciate Bishop’s listening to everyone, I think the far-right section of the conservative movement only wants GOP representatives and senators to hear from them—because they are the only people who are right.
Since junior high school, I have known that once elected an official was obligated to serve everyone but that is some theoretical middle school stuff. In actuality, neither Bishop nor Scott will have a real competitive race before the next redistricting after the next census. So, conservatives will fuss at Bishop then call one of the two GOP U.S. Senators’ offices. As a moderate in conservative Austin Scott’s district, I can still dialog with him because the guy is about explaining his views in a healthy manner (rather than being as ugly as the far-Right.)
Rep. Bishop still represents my community and that is fine because more people who sleep in my town work in Bishop’s district than work in our technical congressional district. We work, shop, worship, study, eat and chill across that invisible congressional line. Bishop and Scott have parts of Macon, Georgia and Columbus, Georgia, and you can believe that people constantly smudge- out that line in their minds.
You might not be able to vote for the congressman or woman from the neighboring district but you can still make that campaign donation. Also, our votes are becoming less impactful anyway. As a moderate Democrat, my voting in the GOP primary was more important to selecting the next president than my coming vote for President Obama in this non-swing state. Yes, I voted in the GOP primary because I wanted to ensure that even if my guy didn’t win, the winner would be the best from the other side. In other words, Romney wasn’t crazy like some in the GOP primary field—just aloof.
For the record, I would be undecided at this point if the GOP presidential candidate was Jon Huntsman, Condi Rice or Mitch Daniels. I don’t vote for Bishop and Obama because they look like me. I vote for them because they try to incorporate everyone’s opinions in the decision-making process.
To my conservative friends, I say look to Austin Scott when you discover that you can’t be a national party without having a functional relationship with the political center.
I should call it like it “t.i.s. tis.” I live in the mega-congressional district Georgia 2nd/8th which is represented by Rep. Bishop and Rep. Scott.