Open Letter to US House of Representatives

Open Letter to US House of Representatives

Open Letter on the US House of Representatives
Sunday, October 15, 2023

Dear US House of Representatives, 117th Congress:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The reason we have a representative democracy and not a direct democracy is that individual citizens do not have the time and energy to go into the minutiae of governing, and also to instill some calm in the process of governing by not subjecting it to the caprices of public opinion at every moment.

As representatives to the House, you are elected to a two-year terms, and — assuming you’d like to play the game another two years — are then expected to go back to the people in your districts, explain to them why you did what you did with the power invested in you, and ask them to reelect you.

Who are you representing? What is your job? Do you just represent those people in your district who voted for you? Or is it a little bigger than that? Do you represent the whole district — even those individuals and interests who didn’t vote for you? Or, since you are making decisions for the Federal Government, do you at least to some degree represent all the citizens of the United States of America. Or, …

Maybe a better question is: How far does your responsibility extend? Only to those who voted for you? Only to your district — including those who didn’t vote for you but might vote for you next time? Only to your district — even those who didn’t vote for you and aren’t very likely to vote for you next time? Or, since you are working to create legislation that affects everyone in the nation, are you responsible to do what you think is best for all the citizens of the United States? Or, since you are helping to govern a powerful nation whose actions have a great impact on the rest of the world, are you responsible to do what you think is best for everyone in the world — insofar as your decisions impact them?

Here’s another question for you: Have you ever been out for a walk in the park or to a mall or a sporting event or church service or school or et cetera, and not worried about being blown up or otherwise executed? We think you have. And wasn’t that nice? Wasn’t that a wonderful feeling? Even if you weren’t aware of it at the time? Now looking back, can’t you feel how wonderful that felt? And isn’t it nice not to be driven from your home, running from the rain that explodes and strips limbs and life from friends, family, maybe you too? Or have you ever publicly disagreed with government officials and government policy without fear of being imprisoned, killed, bankrupted, or losing your loved ones? We think you have. And wasn’t it nice? Isn’t it so nice to be allowed to relax and live and speak as you will?

Who has a Right to nice things like not being blown up and being allowed to speak one’s mind and find one’s own way? Just the people in your district who voted for you? Or just the people who would vote for you if they were in your district?

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

You represent the United States of America. The above few words is our opening salvo. Not the first words of the Declaration of Independence, but the words in the Declaration of Independence that sketch out our shared vision for the kind of nation we want to create — one that holds as self-evident the equality of all people, and the recognition that all people therefore have the same inborn and irrevocable Rights, including Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

It is fundamental to your job as a Representative of the House of the United States of America to recognize that everyone is fundamentally equal and everyone has an unalienable Right to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. Every moment you should remember that this is the Truth that we as a nation are working together to hold self-evident. We are working together to remember this Truth and to together live and govern in accordance with this shared Truth.

After reviewing the situation, we suggest that you Representatives of the House of the 117th Congress pursue the following plan:

1) Republicans vote to not elect Jim Jordan as Speaker of the House.
2) Republicans and Democrats vote to reelect Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House.

It’s not perfect. No one will love it. But we need the House and the Senate to work meaningfully together, and they will again need to pass a budget in November, and they have a lot of difficult decisions to make together. McCarthy avoided a government shut-down by working with the Democrats; Jim Jordan’s track-record makes him unlikely to do the same; and what we need from our elected officials is that they govern meaningfully and sensibly together — and that means meaningful conversation and sensible compromises.

In the end, none of us are right about what is best for ourselves or everyone. This life is much bigger than we are. We need to harken to Wisdom to make good decisions, and Wisdom Knows that we are all in this together and are all fundamentally the same; and that that means we all have not only the Right to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, but also the Responsibility to recognize everyone’s Rights, and to base our actions on that recognition.

Because we all share not just Rights but also Responsibilities, a representative democracy is a good way for us humans to organize ourselves: Wisdom wants us to share power with one another both because Wisdom recognizes the limits of human wisdom and human systems and because Wisdom recognizes that we all share not just Rights, but also Responsibilities, and so if we are to all grow in wisdom, we must share ideas, decisions, and power (that is to say: share Responsibility). So it is wise to together safeguard, improve, and work within our democratic republic.

What else must we do to grow in Wisdom? Share Joy! Share fun! Be able to together protect democracy and within that game have fun — tussle about a bit over the details; but at the end of the day go home as friends because we have remembered all through it that the game is not the point:

The point is preserving, strengthening and working within a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

So We the People can gently nudge the government towards the better and away from the worse, and act as a final check on madness and corruption in the government (more madness/corruption is when worse ideas, impulses, behaviors, and decisions find it easier to gain and maintain power and/or prestige).

A final note:

Let’s not quibble about who endowed us with unalienable Rights. The only thing we know for sure about the Creator of Life and Love is that this Creator is wider and deeper than our ideas and feelings about Creation, Live, and Love.

We Know deep inside prior to our certainties and doubts only this much:

We should think, feel, and act aware, clear, honest, accurate, competent, compassionate, loving-kind, and joyfully-together; seeking to translate the Love that is deeper and wider than our ideas, feelings, words, and deeds into ideas, feelings, words and deeds.


It is clearly impossible to translate what is prior to our capacities into our capacities perfectly/literally/directly/1:1. And so it is clearly impossible to speak for God or the Truth or to Prove anything this way or that. And confusing our ideas and feelings about what’s going on for the Truth causes us to get more and more riled up about our own ideas and feelings, and less and less open to and ready for the Truth.

But the inherent imperfection of human wisdom does not mean we can’t work every day alone and together to connect better and better with the Love that chooses everyone — the Love we experience shining through each moment more fundamentally than our affirmations, doubts, and explanations.

Why not together remember this simple truth:
Either Love is Real
Or none of our worldviews mean anything to any of us

Why not together remember that we should be aware, clear, honest, accurate, kind, gentle, compassionate, and joyfully-sharing; and do the best we can together — even though we’re just people, are not infinitely Wise or Good, but just people?

We will all get older and we will die and all the huff-and-puff that we’d fed ourselves will evaporate, and we will be left with what we did with what we were given. And we will Know to what degree we lived in, through, and for Love; and to what degree we did not. This much we all Know now, deep inside — deeper than our big bold ideas and heavy swelling feelings.


Bartleby Willard
Amble Whistletown
Andy Watson
New York City, NY, USA, Earth

PS: Yes: the Declaration of Independence said “all men are created equal”, and went on to create a government that continued the practice of chattel slavery, and that only extended the right to vote to some men, and not all women — a government that has not always used its power wisely domestically or internationally. But that’s the mark of good ideas: they can go beyond the people who initially voice and sign onto them — they contain Truths beyond the truths of the times, places, people and systems of their birth. Good ideas give us room to grow into them and with them.

PSS: God, help us enjoy each other’s company in this life. We are stuck with each other now and forever, so we may as well get used to it and draw the benefits of teamwork and fellowship here and now.

PSSS: Aghh! Another failed essay. What are we to do? How can we stand up straight within ourselves, push out from within, let the Light in, and be kind to ourselves and everyone? How? While still just being people, hanging out, living in the swirl of sunlight, faces, chitchats, hugs, flashes of foliage, slivers of moving water, and everything else spinning around and around?

PSSSSSSSS: What to do?

This is the fundamental human dilemma:

We can only understand, believe in, or care about our own feeling, thinking, and acting to the degree we live in and through and for the Love that chooses everyone; but that Love is prior to our feeling/thinking/acting; and confusing ideas and feelings about things like “Love” and “Truth” for the Love that is True causes us to turn our focus away from Love and onto our own notions. So what to do?

We all (to some degree wittingly, to some degree unwittingly) try this: Organize our feeling/thinking/acting around the Love shining in and through everything, including each conscious moment; experiencing, syncing up with, and flowing off that Love as best we can — translating Love into feeling/thinking/acting poetically (pointing imperfectly but still meaningfully towards; rather than trying to capture literally, directly, 1:1, definitively, or exclusively). But how much progress do we make?

And we all mean to all agree to most fundamentally prioritize the universal values (aware, clear, honest, accurate, competent, compassionate, loving-kind, joyfully-sharing) and the Love animating them. Since we all can’t help but recognize that none of our worldviews make sense to any of us except to the degree we do this. But somehow we slip and slide in competing and overlapping moral vaunts and prideful cynicisms.

So, like, what are we to do?

And here we have another essay. Another log on the fire.

OK, ok, okay, let’s relax. Shoulders down. Chest out. Deep breath. It’s supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to be joyful. Kind and gentle is not supposed to be stressful; it is kind and gentle and should be kind and gentle.

Start again.

Take your partner, and one two three four five six seven eight, one two three four …

Authors/Editors: Bartleby Willard & Amble Whistletown
Copyright: Andrew M. Watson

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