Oct 22, 2009

Town Hall With Chick Heileson

It’s been well over a week since there was an event labeled as a “Town Hall Tea Party” in Pocatello, ID (October 13, 2009). In reality, it was a chance for Chick Heileson to plead his case before the forty or so voters who showed up. A Vietnam veteran, he is running for congress in Idaho’s 2nd district against Mike Simpson. I must confess that I was expecting an actual Tea Party with local representatives instead of a campaign meeting. I have a feeling that others who attended believed the same was as well. Yet be that as it may, I took along a notepad and pen, and jotted down my impressions of the event.

The reason I waited to write this article was that after the event was over, I approached his campaign manager, Ron Baker, and informed him that I wished to interview Mr. Heileson. I left my phone number as well as email address, and was assured that they would get back to me. Since I have not heard back from them, I must write this article based upon my impressions of that night.

Shortly after 7pm, Ron introduced Chick. Mr. Heileson began by lecturing those in attendance on the founding of the United States, its Constitution, and differing governing systems such as Socialism, Communism, Democracy, and Republicanism (what he called, “Americanism”), etc. He spent thirty minutes or so on the lesson and then opened up the floor to questions. Before doing so, he stated that if elected, he would enforce the Constitution in totality, and would not even read a bill that he considers unconstitutional. He proclaimed that he is a supporter of States’ Rights and limited government.

A member of the audience inquired if he would support limited terms, and after much he-hawing, he said no. Another asked him concerning the life time pensions and health care that all members of government receive, even when no longer in office. He was asked what his opinion was concerning this, and if he would refuse such a thing for himself. Mr. Heileson’s answer was, “I don’t know anything about it, so I can’t answer you.”

When asked how he would combat those currently in Congress who vote against the Constitution, Mr. Heileson stated that he would attempt to approach each member individually and invite them to a Constitution class. It is his hope that through communication and education that he can make a difference.

Mr. Heileson also states that he does not feel that power corrupts. He states that those in office who bend on principal had that character defect before elected. He proclaims that he will never compromise on his. When asked how he could guarantee us that he would not, after much rhetoric, his ultimate answer was that he could not prove it to us. We, the voter, would simply have to take him at his word.

I had the opportunity to ask him about his stance concerning support for Israel. He immediately asked me if I was a reporter, and advised him that I was not. I did inform him that I am a blogger. It seemed that his defenses came up. His answer was: “friendly with all nations, in alliance with none.”

When asked how he would enforce States’ rights, he said that he would do so through his votes and that he would compare pending bills to the Constitution to see if they were authorized by it.

Concerning Social Security, he states that it is unconstitutional. Although he states that no opinion is set in stone, he feels that a good way to end Social Security is to put a halt to new “investors” into it. Let it apply to those who already paid in, but not allow any new members. With Social Security’s funding in the dismal condition as it exists today, he did not state where the government would get additional funding to pay off those who were already invested.

Concerning “Global Warming,” Mr. Heilesonstates that he is not a believer in it. As well, he does not support the United Nations.

After these questions, time was soon up. He informed anyone who had further questions that he would stick around and try to answer them.

The following are my impressions of the event:

Mr. Heileson is an extremely charismatic individual. As such, he was able to quickly draw in the audience’s attention. Even I was touched by his personality, and found myself caught up in the emotion of the event. Yet, since time has passed, I have been able to reflect back. For me, Mr. Heileson is not a person I can support for any political office in the House or Senate.

First off, I had the impression that he avoided many important questions. When faced with those (such as the pension plan), his answer was simply that he had no knowledge of it, and thus could not comment. How can one who is running for congress not have knowledge or opinion on these issues? I feel that he does, but that he did not wish to share them.

When I asked him simply on a stance for supporting Israel, he became visibly irritated. I feel that the main reason America has been blessed in the 20’th century is because of her support for Israel. As well, as the only true democracy in the Middle East, Israel is a literal shield to the rest of the world. She is surrounded on all sides by nations that want to see her destroyed, and is constantly under attack. Ever year, numerous resolutions are passed by the United Nations which condemn her, yet support her attackers. For America to stand back and not support her is more then just a sin, it is reckless.

His stance on communication and attempts to “teach” members in congress about the Constitution is, I feel, very flawed. Persons in those positions of power are soon corrupted by it. They receive numerous hand outs by organizations and corporations who wish policy to go in their favor. As well, there is extreme peer pressure from fellow congressmen as well from the President to vote in certain ways. A simple discussion with people who have already shown that they can be bought or made to compromise will not be effective.

As well, his stance of being friendly with all nations but in alliance with none is, in my strong opinion, dangerously isolationist and unwise. That position may have served America well before the 20th century, but in today’s world of faster then sound travel, mass communication and weapons of mass destruction, American cannot afford to “go it alone.” As well, America must actively support the few remaining free nations in the world. To not do so will ultimately bring destruction upon the world and America herself.

I also cannot bring myself to trust a man whose campaign manager promised to get back to me, yet did not do so. It is a minor issue, not built on pride. Yet it does show to me that Mr. Heileson is already willing to go back on a given word. He may state that he did not make that promise, yet his campaign manager did.

Also, a concern for me is someone who refuses to read any bill he considers unconstitutional. Even if one disagrees with such bill, one should keep themselves informed. Then they can use such knowledge to reach out to their colleagues in congress as well as the American public. Tell us why it isn’t constitutional, what you oppose in such a bill, and what you feel should be done instead. It is my opinion that those who remain blissfully uniformed will never make the strong difference that America truly needs.

Here is a list of questions that I was going to ask him. I feel they are issues that any concerned voter would appreciate knowing his stance on. They are as follows:
  • What is your stance on border security and illegal immigration?
  • The Dollar is quickly becoming obsolete, and the majority of world’s reserve currency no longer uses it. What do you intend to do to resolve this?
  • What is your stance concerning religion in schools? Humanism, Atheism, Evolution and Islam are all religions which are routinely preached to students, yet Christianity is not allowed. What should be done?
  • What is your stance on the United States becoming energy independent? Do you support drilling in ANWAR as well as the Gulf of Mexico?
  • What is your stance on the controversy surrounding Obama’s eligibility to be president? Is the short form of his Hawaiian birth certificate (which has been given to children born outside of the United States) acceptable to you or not? If shown that he is not eligible, will you push for impeachment? Why or why not?
  • What is your position on the second amendment, as well as the claims that the Constitution is a “living document?”
  • How will you deal with lobbyists?
  • Will you fight pork in proposed bills?
  • What is your stance on State Militias? In both the Revolutionary War as well as the Civil War, the States sent their militias – their armies to fight. Yet now all military is run by the federal government. Is this constitutional in your opinion?
  • What is your stance on abortion? What will you do to enforce that stance?

Mr. Heileson, if you read this article and desire to reply, please know that I would welcome an open discussion with you. I do want those questions answered, and I am also open to discussion concerning any other point I have made here. If there have been any misunderstandings on my part, please let me know.

1 comment:

Rushlight said...

I was struck by your observation of "peer pressure" in congress. I've never heard anyone refer to the system in that way, yet it perfectly sums it up. "Peer pressure" is generally associated with juveniles....

I also think it was a good idea to wait to write the article. Getting caught up in the charisma of a candidate is what got us in the current situation. ;-)