We Should Want to Know What Elected Officials Really Think


Well, touché, Liberty RI!


Considering whether to post this, I ultimately decided to do so partly for a chuckle, yes, but mostly to make the point that we shouldn’t want people in public office — particularly at the local and state levels — to feel as if every statement they make anywhere must be guarded and reviewed by a political consultant.

There’s no room for trust in a system in which there’s no chance people who disagree with you will tell you what they’re really thinking.  We can interact as human beings with whom we disagree when we give people some space for the slips of candor, but not when they can’t act like human beings.

Moreover, it’s to our benefit to know where people are coming from.  Along with the pervasive anti-man sentiment with which Representative Walsh peppers her Facebook posts are the outlines of an ideology.  Consider:

Yeah I’m single…but only because I can’t find a man who’s willing to spend all his free time lighting the fires of revolution that will burn capitalism to the ground.

Rhode Islanders looking for some understanding of legislators’ mindsets couldn’t find much better insight into at least one of them.  Walsh’s worldview appears to be that men are evil and that our electoral system (including the Electoral College) and economic system (capitalism) were explicitly designed to keep women down.  (Her appearance, today, on WPRO with Tara Granahan doesn’t do much, if anything, to mitigate this impression.)

I don’t see any dry land of sanity from which to begin arguing with an elected official who holds that view, but it’s definitely valuable to be aware of it.  It’s also valuable to have a system in which people who are willing to speak their minds don’t immediately dismiss the possibility of running for office.

By all means, respond to Sean Todd or Moira Walsh in public or in private, but I think we’ll find that running society on Outrage all the time lands us in a ditch.