By Kevin Boozer
February 5, 2014
As I lay in bed at 2:24 a.m. Wednesday, visions of snowmen dancing in my head as I thought of the snowfall the evening before, suddenly my slumber was disturbed by a phone call. My mind, sleepy though it was, started racing.
My grandmother lives next door and is 87. Had she fallen in the night? Was there some other way she needed our help? Were my brother and sister-in-law and their two boys under age 3 OK? What of my other grandmother who is 81 and living with pancreatic cancer?
Thankfully, the call was for none of those things. Frustratingly there was nothing urgent about it.
The call was a robo call from the campaign offices of Sen. Lindsey Graham from a volunteer with his campaign.
I watched the State of the Union speech the night before, though at 2:24 a.m. I did NOT have that on my mind. I don’t get that political in these columns, or if I do the challenge is to keep the reader from knowing whom I support for office. I won’t tell you now if I voted for Graham, or if, after this incident he will be getting my vote for re-election.
There are factors to consider more than my sleep, though I take it seriously when someone messes with my sleep. He is one of the few senators willing to work across the aisle during a time of hyper-partisan gridlock and he is one of the few members of the Senate or Congress to actually have served in the military.
Maybe those qualities will win out over my immediate aggravation about the late night call. Maybe not. I guess I’ll figure that out by the time I push a button in a ballot box.
We live in a society with a 24/7 news cycle, for better or for worse. There are pluses and minuses to that but it is here to stay. So how does it behoove a senator’s staff to contact me in the middle of the night?
This really is about more than me reaching for an extra cup of coffee on a Wednesday.
It’s about respect and constituent service. How does waking me and my family up at 2 a.m. and causing unnecessary worry help promote a conservative Republican agenda? How does it help unify our country, reduce government waste and keep me safe from terrorism?
I’d like to know the logic. From the looks of Facebook, other constituents do as well.
Wednesday as I worked from home and spent some time with family playing in the snow, those questions were on my mind. My mom contacted the senator’s office by email and received a form letter thank you reply with a promise the letter would receive attention in due time.
I picked up a phone instead and got more immediate answers.
Graham’s campaign spokesperson, Tate Zeigler, told me a technological glitch Wednesday morning resulted in a small number of people receiving an automated call from the campaign. Zeigler said the problem was immediately fixed and that the campaign is reaching out by phone to apologize to constituents.
So, if you had your night’s sleep disturbed Wednesday night, it was not a new political campaign ploy. Nor was it some right-wing conspiracy to take support from the Senator’s base. It was a technological glitch. The glitch raises a question, though, for the electorate.
Whichever way you lean politically, how much sleep might the senator have lost in the last few months as he insisted on a Benghazi investigation, questioned Attorney General Eric Holder during congressional hearings, or opposed the implementation of the Affordable Care Act?
That’s weighty stuff and a tough job, so it may have been a lot. Maybe that is a discussion for another day, but for now, though, readers, please excuse me. The coffee pot beckons.
Kevin Boozer is a staff writer for The Newberry Observer and can be reached at email@example.com. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.