Monday, 31 August 2009

Citizen Protests Congressman Hiding From Town Hall

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Zach SpaceWhen two-term congressman Zack Space decided he didn't want to hold any public town hall-style meeting in his Ohio district this summer, local high-school football coach Dave Daubenmire took his right to air grievances straight to Rep. Space's doorstep. Daubenmire has been camping out in front of Space's district office since August 27, and says he will continue to do so until Space agrees to a “a fair and open forum” where citizens can air their complaints against the "Blue Dog" Democrat.

Daubenmire told The New American that Space has been hiding from his constituents because of a strong left political turn by the congressman since he was reelected. Daubenmire says Ohio's 18th congressional district, which consists of rural towns south and east of the Columbus metropolitan area, is “one of the most conservative districts in America, as far as I know. This is conservative central.” Daubenmire disagrees with Space's self-identification as a Blue Dog Democrat. “He's a lapdog Democrat,” Daubenmire counters. “He does not represent the values of the 18th district.”

Daubenmire's vigil outside Space's district office has been interrupted only by practices for his football team. Daubenmire, who used to coach a public high school, was sued by the ACLU in 1999 for praying with fellow coaches and players. After finishing undefeated during his last year at the public school, and faced with a losing suit against the ACLU, Daubenmire says he “walked away from the job. I wasn't fired. I walked away.” He now coaches the Fairfield Christian Academy football team in Lancaster, Ohio.

Rep. Space has pointed out to the press that he has said he is willing to meet with Daubenmire in a private appointment, so long as there is no public, no press, and no cameras. But Daubenmire told The New American, “I don't want to meet with this man privately, I want a town hall meeting.” The difference, Daubenmire says, is “I don't want to meet with him, I want him to meet with us.”

And Daubenmire points out that Rep. Space has had plenty of time to have meetings with people other than his constituents. “In fact, he's having one right now as we speak, outside of our district to raise money,” Daubenmire told The New American August 29, adding that Space had recently returned from a fact-finding mission in Afghanistan. “He'd rather be in Afghanistan than meet with his own constituents.”

If Rep. Space does consent to a town hall-style meeting, Daubenmire says, “I'd love to ask him to explain how anything they are doing there is constitutional.” Until that time, however, he plans to camp out under the office sign of Space's district office in Zanesville and “do what the Constitution permits us to do, which is have a redress of grievances.”

Daubenmire says the goal of his protest, in addition to getting Congressman Space to hear constituent complaints, is to wake up sedentary Christians. “Every condition we see in America today is because the church has lost its saltiness,” he says, referring to Christ's label of Christians as “the salt of the earth.” Daubenmire says “the church is asleep” and that “they don't want to stand and fight” against what he calls socialism. “We either get these guys to respond to us now, or we will never get representative government back.”

Daubenmire is particularly concerned with the pace at which the federal government is taking on new debt, and he has begun to talk about what the federal debt will do to his grandchildren — even though he doesn't even have grandchildren yet. “This is the fourth quarter,” Coach Daubenmire says. “Scripture says that a wise man leaves an inheritance to his children. And it's not money. If I don't stand now, and I don't speak now I'll never be able to look my grandchildren in the eyes.”

Photo: Congressman Zack Space

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