-by Viv Bernstein
Western North Carolina voters took a leap of faith when they chose a candidate for the 11th Congressional District who possessed little education, experience or expertise to represent our interests in Washington. It’s already clear that was a grave mistake. Madison Cawthorn has proven himself unprepared, unfit and simply not up to the job.
Maybe you weren’t bothered by Cawthorn’s repeated lies about a stolen election and crowd incitement on Jan. 6 that led to an insurrection and seven dead-- including a police officer who was beaten to death with a fire extinguisher. And you don’t care that he faces multiple investigations, possible censure by his colleagues and potential criminal charges for his actions. Or that nationally, he is viewed as an extreme member of the kooky QAnon Coalition on the absolute right wing fringe of the Republican Party.
Shouldn’t it bother 11th District voters that Cawthorn’s chief of staff, district director, legislative director, senior aide and press secretary all have no connection to Western North Carolina?
Shouldn’t it give everyone pause that Cawthorn sent a letter to his colleagues announcing he has built his staff around communications, not legislation? Instead of working on policy to help Western North Carolina, Cawthorn is working to expand his own national profile.
It’s all about him. Not us. And he demonstrates that daily on his social media that is used to build his brand, spew lies and divide us rather than focus on the issues that impact Western North Carolina.
Indeed, so many of the problems Cawthorn presents can be seen in a single tweet he posted just the other day about the disaster in Texas, where millions are without power during a deep freeze.
What’s wrong with that tweet?
It shows a lack of knowledge or understanding-- something many voters feared would be a problem for Cawthorn given his limited background. It only takes a little research to learn that wind power represents just 10 percent of the energy produced in Texas and clearly is not the issue that has led to the disaster there. In fact, most of the energy comes from gas, and that power is offline because plants are frozen. The infrastructure to deliver energy is frozen because Texas, in an effort to appease corporate interests, never required the energy industry in the state to prepare for a deep freeze like the one Texans are experiencing now.
The tweet was an outright lie. During his campaign, Cawthorn lied about his plans to go to the Naval Academy, lied about being a businessman and lied about preparing to compete in the Paralympics. His prolific lying has continued now that he is a member of Congress.
The lie was meant to foment partisan division. It bolsters an underhanded Republican attempt to pass off blame to green energy and Democratic policies for the problems in Texas. This despite the fact that the governor, state legislature and Electric Reliability Council of Texas are all run by Republicans. So much of Cawthorn’s social media presence is designed not to inform, but to divide us.
The tweet shows (yet again) Cawthorn’s outsized interest in issues affecting Texas. Why is that? Could it be that he is beholden to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who was one of the largest donors to Cawthorn’s campaign?
The tweet does nothing to benefit the 11th District. As usual for Cawthorn. He has repeatedly voted against the interests of Western North Carolina. He has said no to the COVID-19 relief package so desperately needed here, no to raising the minimum wage and no even to investing in community college education.
Bottom line: Cawthorn has neither the ability nor the interest in representing Western North Carolina in Washington. He isn’t serving the public. He is only serving himself.
We can do better. And we must.