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Blog: So, What Is “Perfect,” Mr. Speaker?

Feb 10, 2011 | By Marge Clark, BVM

“We have been in the majority four weeks,” Mr. Boehner said. “We are not going to be perfect every day.” (New York Times, 2/10/11) In this statement, the Speaker was referring to the Republican members of the House having NOT BEEN IN LOCKSTEP on 2 votes. I’m quite bothered by the notion that “perfection” in Congress is having all members vote along party lines – no matter what they may think is best for the nation, or for their district. 

“I, AB, 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 faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

Members swear (or affirm) support of the Constitution, not to support of their respective party. I expect persons for whom I vote to work with integrity, studying issues and listening to experts, to the party and to the people of the district. However, if the informed conscience of the member does not agree with what is heard from the most vocal members of the district and with the party, I expect “perfection” to be each member’s vote based on informed conscience.