COMMENTARY | Some days, I love the Internet. I mean I really, really love the Internet, because without it, how would I know about Missouri Republican state Sen. Brian Nieves’ e-mail, ehhhrm, “conversation” with a constituent who no longer wanted to be on his mailing list?
Apparently Nieves did not take the news well, sending Bart Cohn e-mail after e-mail, and topping it off with a comment about Cohn’s beard. Since Cohn’s e-mails didn’t have any pictures, Cohn surmised that Nieves must have “stalked” his Facebook page for that information.
It all started when Cohn, annoyed by Nieves’ newsletter, sent the following message, reports the Riverfront Times: “Take me off your mailing list. Freak.”
Nieves, for his part, responded to Cohn’s e-mail like a respectful, mature politician, simply taking Cohn off his list.
Just kidding. Of course he didn’t.
Nope, he demanded, “Tell me this, how did you ever even get on MY Distribution list?” Which should be kind of evident, as that Cohn is a constituent. Still, the conversation soldiered on, with Cohn responding, “Remove me from your list. I despise you.”
Now that would have been a great point for a representative of the people to take stock and ask why a voter would use such strong language as “despise.” Perhaps it would have been a good time for an open dialogue.
Nope, didn’t go down that way either.
After another round of demanding to know how Cohn got on the list to start, calling the voter a “troll,” and his subsequent apparent answering of his own question by saying that constituents who e-mail him are automatically added to the list, Nieves accuses Cohn of being “obsessed” with him. He also claims he’s being threatening.
And then comes my favorite line ever to be followed by “Senate Majority Whip” in the signature block. Nieves writes, “Go back to the grade school playground where people you can successfully bully and out smart [sic] are playing cuz junior… You are way out of your league with me.” (All grammatical/punctuation errors in the original).
Just read the exchange, you’ll have your laugh of the day.
As hilarious as this series of e-mails may be — and it’s pretty hilarious — we have to remember that we are talking about an elected official having a conversation, in writing, with a resident of his district. There is no sense of respect from Nieves for someone who disagrees with him or doesn’t like him; there is certainly no sense of obligation.
While he’s crowing about his distribution list, he seems to forget it doesn’t, actually, belong to him. It belongs to the people of Missouri, and it belongs to the office of state senator. Not Brian Nieves. The state senator fulfilling that role.
The rudeness alone from Nieves should have his constituents concerned about his fitness for office, but worse than rudeness, this waste of time demonstrates that he is unable to let the smaller things go in order to focus on priorities.
No, instead he e-mailed Cohn at 1 a.m. after obviously searching for a photo of him to let him know he’d found a photo of him.
Come on, citizens. There are stories like this constantly, with state and national politicians doing things and saying things that would be ridiculous from an adult, let alone a representative of the people. Our governments deserve better. We deserve better.
We need to vote better.