Originally published in the Lincoln Journal Star
I recently wrote an open letter to Senator Ben Sasse regarding the American Health Care Act.
Our republic relies on an informed citizenry that communicates with and watches over those who exercise power. People who care about responsible citizenship -- as you do -- often point out the dangers of an underinformed public, one that lets officials escape the accountability that is supposed to keep them honest. It’s hard to see how the public can play its role if officials deliberately keep us in the dark.
Deliberately keeping the public ignorant of the legislative process does not show respect for the American people. Or for democracy itself. You know that, too.
So I am writing to you, senator, because so much that you have said indicates that you will stand up for decent behavior in politics and work against the excessive partisanship that harms our constitutional system.
You have a choice. Either you can be the wise, mature citizen-legislator whose admirable values you articulate so well, or you can stay quiet while Senate leadership engages in this breathtaking undermining of democratic values. You can’t do both.
You are entitled to dislike the Affordable Care Act and to vote for its repeal. That’s democracy, too. But if you go along quietly as the Senate majority adopts controversial legislation without even giving the public time to read and react to the bill, your admirable high-road discourse will become considerably less credible.
That would be so disappointing.
I think you're a good man, senator. The choice is yours, and I hope you make it well.