Congressional Order of Merit

Okay, I’m not known for being able to keep my mouth shut. When I see something stupid or wrong or misleading I have to say something. I can’t help it. I sometimes feel like I should join one of those help groups:

Hello. My name is Tarus Balog, and I’m a talkaholic.

So this post will delve into the realm of politics, one I try to avoid. For those of you who are sensitive to such things, you’d be better off checking out Dilbert.

Within America’s two party system, I’m unaffiliated with either party. My views can’t be easily grouped into either one. I’m a social liberal and a fiscal conservative (one of the reasons that OpenNMS is profitable). In the past I have voted for both Republican and Democratic candidates.

I am really concerned with how well a potential US President understands technology. Things like patent reform, net neutrality and intellectual property rights are very important to me, as well as broader ideas such as science education and medical research. I want someone in office whose grasp of the Internet is more than just “a series of tubes“.

Today I received a message from the office of Congressman Tom Cole of Oklahoma informing me that I had received the “Congressional Order of Merit” for being a “business leader”, and, I assume, such a darned nice guy. It was delivered with such a flourish that my head filled with images of medals, State dinners and at least one thing to blog about. (grin)

However, it seemed a little too good to be true. I mean, I doubt there is a single member of Congress who has heard of OpenNMS, much less the OpenNMS Group, and since I’ve been online in some form or another since 1984 I’ve learned that things that seem too good to be true often are.

So it was off to Google.

It appears that the Congressional Order of Merit is nothing more than a ploy by the National Republican Congressional Committee to hit me up for money. While I figured it was as much, it pisses me off in a couple of ways.

First off, did they not think I would look it up online? It seems that they’ve hit up some other “leaders” too, such as Ira Flatow from Science Friday and this guy who took the process to its conclusion.

Second, why the subterfuge? Why the misleading phone calls? Why not call up and say “Hello Mr. Balog, we see that you are a small businessman and here’s our vision on how the NRCC can help you. We need your donation to help us realize that vision” versus the whole “Order of Merit” crap.

If the NRCC can’t be honest about that, I doubt they can be trusted to do anything in my best interest. I guess it is time for a change.

One thought on “Congressional Order of Merit

  1. “Iā€™m a social liberal and a fiscal conservative”

    How is that different than being a (little-L) libertarian, from your POV?

    I like the approach that only a few brave congresscritters have taken when it comes to medals. A couple (yes including the infamous R.P. who’s name cannot be spoken publicly anymore for whatever reason) will actually pull money out of their pockets on the house floor and implore anyone else who believes that a medal should be issued to follow his lead and pay out of their own pockets rather than burden the taxpayers. I like that approach. There oughtta be a law… šŸ˜‰

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