Arthur Christopher Schaper
Congressman David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island) is no stranger to big spending in politics. The state capital and largest city, Providence, Rhode Island, struggled under massive structural debt and deficits during the greater part of his tenure as the Prince of Providence.
Despite the dire financial straits of the city, Cicilline moved on to Congress, though winning by one percent in 2010, then steadily capitalized on his lengthening tenure. The son of mob lawyer John Cicilline, the Congressman has taken pictures of Rhode Island's poor, yet provided no image of hope that their lives can improve. During his steady ascent in Rhode Island politics, the National Democratic Party has become the party of the Rich One Percent. In 2014 and this year, Republicans have expertly seized the wage gap, income inequality argument from the former "Party of the Poor".
The Democratic Party can still hold onto the poverty moniker, precisely because their policies have aggravated wage stagnation and economic retraction in the country, and severely so in the Ocean State. Nevertheless, the Democrats hold all statewide offices in Rhode Island, and "Grand Theft Auto" Cicilline is still playing his state like a video game from hell.
One of a small number of openly homosexual member of Congress, Cicilline finds his marginal LGBT caucus reduced further during the 114th Congress. Of course, the group within a group's numbers do not depend on homosexuals alone, but regressive activists in Congress, predominantly straight, who have co-opted the language and struggle of civil rights to a form of conduct still debatable as innate or acquired.
Curiously enough, LGBT attrition already occurred in 2014, when open homosexual House Rep Michael Michaud of Maine gave up his Congressional seat in the northern part of the state to run for Governor. He lost to incumbent Republican Paul LePage, who recognizes marriage between one man and one woman. Another Republican, Bruce Poliquin, represents one section of the New England frontier for the first time in nearly two decades.
Three gay Republicans did run for Congress in 2014. One lost in a primary (David Innes in New Hampshire). Two lost in the general election. Richard Tisei faced a new face in the Massachusetts 6th Congressional District, and lost by double-digits. Carl DeMaio of California ran against a conservative caucus of public dissenters offended that the San Diego County Party leaders shoved an unacceptable candidate onto the ballot. Local churches endorsed the Democratic incumbent Scott Peters to deter DeMaio from reshaping the Republican Party platform away from protecting life, family, and marriage.
Despite their shrinking numbers, the House LGBT caucus is raising its price for membership. Astonishing yet true, this caucus requires interested, curious members to pay to join. If an organization is struggling to keep members, why charge a fee to join in the first place?
The Washington Blade reports:
At the onset of the 114th Congress, the nearly seven-year-old caucus is for the first time charging for regular membership. The cost is $400 per year. The cost for being a co-chair has risen to $7,500 annually and for being a vice-chair to $2,100 a year.
Where are the Democratic House reps supposed to get this money? From their campaign donors? With Democrats facing their lowest numbers in Congress since the Great Depression, shouldn't the remaining liberal partisans focus on outreach to otherwise alienated or drifting constituencies in this country?
In a time of flat-funding for the budgets of House members, the new dues are a source of heartburn for staffers trying to make ends meet and cover salaries, office rent, franking and travel. The same $400 could be used to conduct a tele-town hall conference with constituents from D.C.
Why do cellphone town halls cost so much? How much does a phone call to extended sections of the country really cost, anyway? Not just Congressmen, but their staffers and other officials in Washington are rethinking membership in this elite club.
This development suggests other points. Is the "gay rights" movement starting to lose interest for the average voter? Even though President Barack Obama crossed another threshold when he mentioned "transgender" in his latest State of the Union address (plus the unprecedented early release of the speech and the subsequent drop in ratings), young voters are not interested in gay marriage or LGBT issues, as much as protecting life and securing a worthy career.
Still, the LGBT Caucus is pressing for more money:
Brad Jacklin, executive director of the LGBT Equality Caucus, confirmed the new charges for membership in an interview with the Washington Blade, saying they amounted to “changes in structure” and a modest increase from the 113th Congress.
Going from zero to $400 is not a modest increase. This kind of spin goes nowhere, and impresses no one. Why the wage discrimination? And where does all this money go?
Jacklin acknowledged a portion of the dues “do go to my salary.” According to Legistorm, a website that monitors congressional salaries, Jacklin made about $53,000 in salary in fiscal year 2014 — a figure he said was accurate.
Out of executive director's own mouth, one more liberal interest group is in the mere business of redistribution of wealth, all in the name of some esoteric, noble cause. The same racket animates environmentalist groups, where the vast majority of donations is dedicated to overhead, including staff salaries and overhead. Very little of the funding goes toward educating the public or energizing voters. Could the same be true of the "gay rights" movement in Washington DC?
Arthur Christopher Schaper is a writer, blogger, and political commentator on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance.
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