I attended the Jim Banks BBQ in Whitley County on Sept. 16.
While I may not live in Rep. Banks' 3rd District, I have the right to hear what our congressional delegation has to say, even if it means “pay to play.”
I was asked to attend on behalf of friends in western North Carolina because their representative, who is known for his increasingly violent rhetoric, was to be a featured speaker. He, like most other Republican members of Congress, doesn't like to hold free-to-the-public town halls, either.
Honestly, had I known that Rep. Madison Cawthorn would be a no-show, I would have never attended.
So, despite being bullied into turning off my phone with the implication that I should leave, I chose to stay and hear what my neighbors' and sister's representatives had to say. It was interesting to see my state representative and member of the Indiana Redistricting Committee, Rep. Craig Snow, was present and made a short statement.
What I found most intriguing was when Banks spoke about redistricting. He bragged about how his friends in the Indiana Statehouse had made sure to keep the maps red so they would stay in office, and how one of them told him that he would “continue to get elected for the rest of your life.”
Even if Banks later claims to have been joking, every American understands that within every joke, there is a foundation of truth.
Republicans have no interest in governing conscientiously. Their only concern is retaining unbalanced power – power to enrich themselves and their wealthy donor-class friends while they lie to everyone else about what freedom means.
In their speeches, Banks and U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz, R-5th, offered no mention of, much less solutions to, the real concerns Hoosiers face: exponential resurgence of the pandemic, keeping our homes, growing wealth disparity and the ever-rising costs of already exorbitant health care and education.
Instead of suggesting they would work with leadership, our two representatives only offered continued obstruction.
I received a good education at Kokomo High School (in what will soon be Spartz's district). It was there I learned that in our republic, maintained by the process of representative democracy, our elected officials are to heed their constituents' most pressing concerns and, while working across the aisle, develop good ideas and make compromises that reflect our best interests by building bridges to form a more perfect union.
Banks only seems interested in burning those bridges, and that helps no one – not even his wealthy donor friends.
It was also strange to be told that the fundraiser was “a private event” after it had been publicly advertised for months. So, I wondered: Why doesn't Banks want his message from that afternoon shared with the public?
It's because Banks – the same guy who encourages his Republican Study Committee to “lean into the culture war” – has no good ideas, only bad ones. That's what he doesn't want the public – you and me – to know.
Tammari Ingalls is a Wabash resident.
This story has been corrected.