What follows is the letter I wrote to incoming Senator James David (J.D.) Vance, the man elected to replace outgoing Senator Rob Portman of Ohio. Feel free to alter and use, if you feel so inclined.
Senator James David Vance
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
03 January 2023
Dear Mr. Vance,
At noon today, you will take your Oath of Office whereby you will say …
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.”
I hope that you understand the tremendous responsibility you are taking on with those words. Your responsibility is not only to the people of Ohio, but to every living being in the United States, and around the globe. It is a solemn responsibility, not one to be taken lightly, not one to be made a mockery by playing political games.
You are new to government and have no previous experience. For that reason, as well as some of your more questionable views and associations, I did not vote for you. However, I believe in democracy and that the results of a free and fair election must be honoured by all, for if they are not, then our democratic foundations will crumble. And thus, for better or for worse, you will represent the people of Ohio in the United States Senate. I ask you to consider a few things as you take your seat.
- Your commitment, your obligation, is to We the People, not to the Republican Party. The GOP as it is otherwise known, has largely set aside such things as values and integrity, opting instead for putting on a show to please a, shall we say less-educated, base. I hope you will not fall into this trap, for this nation is struggling in several areas and we need serious lawmakers who come to Congress in order to address problems, to look after the best interests of the nation and its people.
- Please do not be conned into a false set of priorities by others in your party. The things that matter most to this country are such things as the environment, gun violence, education, civil rights, wealth inequality, affordable healthcare, voting rights for all, and more.
- Remember that your job is to legislate. Some in your party believe that their job is to seek retaliation against those in the opposing party, and to spend the bulk of their time campaigning for their next re-election bid. This is not a playground and you are not a 6-year old child, so please try to remember that and take your job seriously. We the People elected you and we work damn hard to pay our taxes that pay your salary. In return, we expect you to do the work of the people, not the work of your political party, per se.
I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican, and I see both parties clearly, not through a partisan lens. I have voted for members of both parties throughout my lifetime, but today I see a Republican Party in chaos, a party that has no platform, no ideology, no concern for the people, only for their own wealth and power. If you follow along those lines, you will be a huge disappointment to the people who hired (elected) you and who pay your salary. So please, try to take your job seriously. If you do, you will succeed. If you fail to, then you will be hearing from me and others and in six years (or less) you will be unemployed.
I wish you the best.
Jill Dennison, citizen, taxpayer, voter