My run-in with an a-hole
A sad but true story of how reason doesn’t work with irrational people
We are in an extremely busy time of year right now at UCOMM Communications. We are building state of the art websites for four new clients and upgrading mobile technologies for four others. In addition, we are coordinating two ad campaigns and working logistics for the 6th Annual Long Island Workers Memorial Mass at St. Patrick’s Church in Bay Shore. Having a few clients on strike mixed with constant communications for our entire union universe is making life a bit hectic for team UCOMM.
So to help stay on top of the news, we check-in with twitter from time to time, especially to keep a handle on what the politicos are up to. It was nice seeing an image of the office of Democratic Congressman Bob Brady of Pennsylvania’s first district. At his office in the US Capitol he hung a CWA picket sign on his door which highlighted Verizon’s corporate greed. Then as I scrolled down my twitter feed I retweeted another image of Republican Rookie Congressman Lee Zelden from New York’s first district walking a picket line with striking Verizon workers.
I was feeling good about how our house representatives where handling the largest strike in our nation for a few moments, but then I remembered what happened to me bright and early on the morning of Monday, April 18th. My good mood turned bitter, here’s the background;
Every Spring the Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO holds what they call a Congressional Night. Hosted at a large union hall, all members of Congress and the 2 United States Senators show up. In a town-hall setting union leaders, flanked by their members, ask the federal elected officials questions about how they voted, or planned on voting – to protect the interests of working families and the organizations that represent them. It is a very popular event, well attended and organized.
For years, Republican senior Congressman Peter King, who represent New York’s second district, has boycotted the event. So I was always curious as to why? I wanted to discover the reasoning first hand, so I decided to try and meet him at a breakfast event he was scheduled to speak at sponsored by a Chamber of Commerce group. For months I have been trying to get a discreet meeting with him, working contacts and favors but nothing ever panned out. The only option I had was to meet him face to face.
Congressman King is a bit of a character, it’s comical that people take him seriously. He is old and rarely smiles, looks a bit like a liver spotted Dan Akroyd. He served as a higher up on the Congressional Homeland Security committee and currently serves on a subcommittee on terrorism. As a constituent of his, I get his taxpayer dollar funded mailers with the typical Fox News themed propaganda of fear, veterans and old glory – but as an old bitter Republican, we really expect nothing less.
The AFL-CIO gave King a 39% lifetime rating. This means that 60% of the time you can expect him to vote against your union. Even though he has some of the Building Trades fooled because he votes in support of the Davis Bacon Act which upholds prevailing wages on federally funded construction projects, most of the time Congressman King is bad on every other bill important to working people.
I really wanted him to attend Congressional Night this year for many reasons. One, he has an election this year against a candidate who could give him a run for his money. It’s not looking that way right now but it’s only April. Two, he is a higher up with terrorism, and given that ISIS is consistently chopping heads, and a Trump Presidency would lead to even more terrorist attacks, I want to hear his thoughts on how we can protect ourselves. Lastly, as a constituent I am curious as to why he hates organized labor. Maybe he knows something that I don’t.
At 8:28 am on the morning of Monday April 18th at a corporate office building I spotted him. Flanked by 2 staffers, I offered my hand and said, “Good morning Congressman, I am Kris LaGrange and I work with a bunch of unions and was hoping to get your ear for a second.” He responded… “I am running late for this event but walk with me.” I continued, “I know you’re busy but I was hoping we could sit down sometime soon to talk about Congressional Night…” His eye’s blew up and his face turned red as he sped up his walking pace and screamed; “Congressional Night! You tell your boss to go F--- himself I will never forgive him for what he did.” Just like that, the moment was gone.
As I stood at the doorway, I experienced a revelation, something that many other people, especially union leaders have experienced on their own; Congressman King is an irrational man. He had no interest at all whatsoever hearing what I had to say. I later learned he was mad at the Long Island AFL-CIO for endorsing someone who ran against him a couple election cycles ago.
Looks like we will not be seeing Congressman King at Congressional Night again this year, but in a way that may be a good thing; to allow him to speak to a group of good hardworking people the way he spoke to me would not just be disrespectful to the working men and women in the room, but it would be a slap in the face to the organization hosting the event.
Congressman King doesn’t deserve that opportunity and the AFL-CIO, and his district as a whole are better off without him around.