In the fall of 2001, Mary, Katy and I visited Washington, DC to watch Mary’s sister, Maureen, argue a case at the Supreme Court, (see the full story: http://rickgilbert.net/#/n_1762.)
While we were there, we decided to visit our House Representative, Anna Eshoo. She was more than welcoming and gracious. She took us to breakfast in the House cafeteria. In the middle of our discussion, she got a notification that an important vote was happening in five minutes. She excused herself and invited Katy, not Mary or me, to join her for the vote. She asked Katy to push the button to cast her vote. Talk about participatory democracy!
She posed with Katy and a stuffed animal from Katy’s class that had been touring the country as kids traveled with their parents.
That was 15 years ago. Anna still hangs onto her seat in Congress with little competition from either the left or the right. She is held in high regard by her Silicon Valley constituents.
Two weeks ago, I attended a backyard reception for her. Surrounded by adoring supporters, she explained why this election cycle has been so bizarre and is so important. Excerpts from her talk:
“The Republicans have nominated a showman; we can’t assume anything. We are not a stupid people. This is as serious as it gets. People of color have a huge stake. What is happening takes my breath away…
“I support Hilary; best qualified person since Thomas Jefferson. We need to welcome disaffected Republicans. The alternative is the irrational. Do not be complacent…
“Deadlock strikes at the heart of our democracy. No one gets up in the morning and says, ‘God, I love Congress!’ I understand how the Bernie supporters feel. No one is standing in line to get into other countries like ours.”
Anna has always felt to me like someone who knows how our democracy is supposed to run.