The Greenville Guardian Actual journalism, virtually delivered

What the Editor Thinks: Politicians Asking Leading Questions

by Lisa Ellison

My U.S. Representative (yours too, most likely), Walter Jones, apparently asks a question on his website each week. I don’t know how long he’s been doing it, how many people usually respond or how long this particular question has been up (my guess is since Saturday at 10 a.m., when the query went up on his Facebook page).

“Do you believe the federal government should be allowed to punish churches, charities, and private schools who, because of their religious beliefs, oppose same-sex marriage?”

One hundred forty-six, or nearly 90 percent of all 163 people who’d responded before me said, “No.” I’m one of the eight who bothered to say “other” (twice, actually) instead of just ignoring a question clearly meant to gag those who disagree, to rally those who already agree and to make Walter B. feel like he’s reaching out to and receiving nearly complete support from his public.

Is this what the congressman wants to convey, a false patina of public service? Does he want to hear from reasonable people who do not agree with his beliefs, which his question veils so thinly? Does hearing opposing views ever make any difference?

It is irresponsible of this career politician to suggest that a person or group is punished for the beliefs they hold. He panders to a frenzied mob and incites ignorance when he does not insist on the truth: those who violate the law should expect punishment for that violation, not for whatever belief may have driven it.

I, for one, expect more of him.

If you communicate with Walter Jones (or some other congressperson), what kind of responses have you received?

Screenshot 2015-07-28 at 11.33.48 PM

Screenshot of survey results, July 28, 11:33 p.m..

email the editor

Responses (3)

  1. Charlotte-Anne Alexander says:

    I’ve had no response when I’ve emailed Congressman Jones as a constituent. Like the website questions you reference in your editorial, Congressman Jones’ infrequent mailings tend to offer only leading questions. When I emailed his office to express disappointment about the slanted nature of his “survey”, there was no response, which tended to indicate that he is disinterested in any opposing constituent viewpoint or respectful criticism. In fairness, I will say that his office has been helpful and responsive when I’ve contacted it on behalf of others dealing with intractable or unresponsive federal agencies. His constituent service in that regard is very strong.

  2. ann eleanor says:

    Perhaps next week’s question should be
    Do you believe the Federal government should be allowed to punish churches, charities, and private schools for NOT upholding the law of the land (SCOTUS). As in taking away tax exemptions, etc.

Join the discussion! To promote civility and the useful exchange of ideas, we moderate comments and require full names (first and last), and a valid email address (used solely for verification). If you have an issue posting, please describe it and paste any error message you receive in the body of an email. Send to: Thanks for your participation!

%d bloggers like this: