Eric Cantor lost the primary that would have put him on the ballot to run for re-election to Congress. Have you heard about it? Of course you did. You heard about it on the radio; saw it on TV; read about it in the newspaper; and learned about it from nearly every media outlet in the kingdom. The Republican Party had anointed Cantor as a rising star, someone destined for higher office. Yet, he lost and every political pundit has offered a theory for the reason, so I thought I'd add my own to the mix.
Cantor, 51, has represented Virginia's 7th congressional district since 2001 and rose to the heights of congressional majority leader in a very short time. Young, articulate, and polished, Cantor made his mark on the party and Americans came to know him during the debt ceiling "crisis" of 2011.
Then came the moment of truth and his constituency had to vote. Eric Cantor lost because his constituents--voters--have had enough of the games the politicians play in Washington. They, everyone associated with the government, work for us. We pay their bills, and yet, for the most part, they hold us in contempt. They make their back room deals, perform their political ploys, and get rich from doing the bidding of a few large contributors. They play the game with rules they have not shared with us and when they speak to us, the tone of their voices and the choice of their words resound with "Don't you worry your pretty little head about it." Ask a question that requires a simple yes or no, and instead they give a three-minute analysis of some other subject, smile nicely, and move on to the next question which they somehow skillfully avoid answering.
All the while, each and every one of these politicians "remind" us that they represent us. They have our best interests at heart. They want to "serve" the people. Admittedly, when a new senator or congressman goes off toe D.C., by and large they go with the heart and mind of a statesman. They truly believe the platitudes they ran on. They truly revere our representative government, but people being people, money, power, and influence quickly undermine all those nobler motives. Statesmen quickly turn into politicians and leave all that behind for baser gains.
The longer someone remains in that environment, the more likely they are to lose sight of their true purpose and join the vast majority of others with the same failings. Now, I don't know Eric Cantor. I've never spoken with him, and I suspect the same is true of the vast majority of his constituents, but voters find it difficult to vote for "their guy" when they're so dissatisfied with the way congress runs things. The find it difficult to support someone who is part of an organization that seems to have swept them under the rug and trampled them and their rights. So, they looked for a new guy and found him in David Brat.
Eric Cantor may in fact be the best man for the job, but I think he found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time in the political history of our country. But I think that we can fix this whole mindset if we're willing to do a little work. We need to hold our representatives accountable on a daily basis. With all the information available to us via the Internet, we can keep in constant contact with them through email. Remind them, constantly, what we want and need, who they work for, who pays their bills, and who votes for them or for the other guy come election time. That is our greatest tool.
In the meantime, I wish Eric Cantor and his family well in whatever he chooses to do. And may God bless us all and inspire us in our own voting choices in coming elections.