I sent the following letter to Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, I-Conn. today
First of all, congratulations on your new term. We all worked hard to reach this day and I know you and Hadassah are happy and satisfied with the way things came out, if not with some of the bumps along the way. Mazel Tov to you and your family.
One of the precepts of the Talmud, as you know, is that certain major issues such as belief in God and His commandments are taken for granted. All the arguments are about the little things, the how to do a thing rather than whether we should do it.
I feel the same way about you, Joe. I know you will do the big things, the important things well. Although we can argue about the war in Iraq, I know you have the good of both this nation and of Israel at heart, and will do the right thing in the end.
I now that, unlike Brent Scowcroft in the Times this morning, you do not advocate letting Israel bear the brunt of the solution to the broader Middle East crisis. Just like in 1991, Scowcroft and the rest of the elder Bush's cronies want Israel to take the bullet so that a coalition of Arabs could be formed, as if that is possible. I know you will not allow this to come about.
My problem with you is a smaller one. It is a matter of constituent care.
When I was leafleting and standing out for you in the general campaign, one of the complaints I heard most often is that your offices were unresponsive to citizens. Time and again, I heard the complaint of someone contacting your office in the district or in Washington and never hearing back from them. Two or three people were so incensed I thought they would start crying right there on the street.
I suffered a similar fate when I tried to get you to become involved in Rabbi David Avigdor's 25th anniversary dinner. Your people finally sent a letter, but even that took many, many calls and e-mails. My invitation, sent weeks in advance, was never acknowledged.
Recently, something happened again. The day after the election, I received a broadcast e-mail thanking me for my work and saying an invitation to your swearing-in would be forethcoming. I thought it might be fun, but nothing ever came and it slipped my mind until the end of December.
I sent an e-mail and an invitation came by return e-mail the next day, but by then it was too late to make arrangements . I asked why the invitation was never sent and was told the sponsors were in contact with some people in the district and the between-the-lines was that I wasn't important enough to worry about. That's probably true -- my work in the campaign and standing out in the rain (did you see my piece in the New Haven Independent about that?) probably had little to do with your win, but it's the principal.
Don't get me wrong -- Sue and I will live without attending the party. But it is important that you keep and eye on relations with your constituents, and impress upon your staff that this is one of the must important aspects of their jobs.
Sorry about the rant, Joe, but I needed to get this off my chest.
Again, congratulations on your swearing-in. Keep up the good work.
If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know. I mean that and I think I can be helpful. I'm not looking for a job, just perhaps a volunteer gig.
Leonard J. Honeyman