Congressman Bill Flores has enlisted the help of America’s most infamous drug kingpin! What he’s done will shock you…

Great, I’ve got your attention. I wasn’t entirely kidding, but more on that in a moment. Since November’s election, Representative Flores (R-TX) has continued his habit of ignoring and rebuffing his constituents (the ones he hasn’t blocked yet, that is) who have dared to ask hard-hitting questions on social media. Diverse groups of Central Texans have been calling his office in recent weeks to express their displeasure with his stances on various issues, and they were particularly frustrated to read his recent interview with the Dallas Morning News where he makes a baseless claim that at least half of the dissenting calls his office receives come from outside the state. Newsflash, Congressman Flores: we are right here in District 17 and you work for us, too.

It seems, though, that Flores prefers to live in an echo chamber, frequently sharing news from sources that are little more than biased garbage and eschewing town halls entirely.  Apparently you have to pay money to meet our congressman.  Oh, and don’t bother publicly demanding a town hall meeting on social media or criticizing him for ignoring the separation of church and state on his official Facebook page.  Even politely-worded requests are frequently deleted without response.  And if citizens plan their own town hall during the congressional break and extend an invitation to him, well, we’ll see how that works out tomorrow.

On February 3rd, Flores used his verified Twitter account to brush aside a constituent’s open letter regarding the travel ban, saying, “My decisions are based upon facts. Facts based upon briefings from Homeland Security, FBI, IC, classified briefings, etc.; not opinions from Time, USA Today, etc.”  Given Congressman Flores’s condescending tone when he spoke of the inferior sources that his constituents read, you can imagine my surprise when I clicked on a tweet from January 31st labeled “Fact Check: YES, Terrorists Have Come From Countries on President Trump’s Travel Ban” and found that the article our dear congressman had cited was “written” by none other than Walter White, crystal meth kingpin from AMC’s smash hit Breaking Bad. Flores may as well have cited an article by Harry Potter.

Furthermore, the website in question is littered with clickbait and propaganda that reads like castoffs from the National Enquirer. The culture section (I use that term quite loosely) includes such gems as this “Redneck Medical Dictionary.” Had Flores bothered to dig a little deeper, he might have learned that “Duck Dynasty’s Sadie Robertson Just Made a MAJOR Announcement…This Changes EVERYTHING” and “Wikileaks CONFIRMS Hillary Sold Weapons to ISIS…Then Drops Another BOMBSHELL!

I did wonder if perhaps a staffer or intern might have made the error, but a former congressional intern from another district assured me that while someone else may have done the “research,” Flores would have approved the message before it was posted.

My question is this: Should a man who can’t discern real information from fake even be privy to classified briefings, let alone be allowed to weigh in on national security?

Perhaps Flores could, in his breaks from posting fake and biased news, find the time to listen to us, his constituents. Otherwise, in January 2019 he might find himself with a lot more time to catch up on Netflix.

Hey, Congressman Flores – We’re In*DI*visible, not In*VI*sible!

We kicked off our Indivisible group at a gathering of other concerned citizens in Austin on Saturday, January 7, to stand up to the authoritarianism and hypocrisy of Trump and so many in his party and to build a more inclusive, respectful alternative. That afternoon, we created our Twitter account, @IndivisibleTX17, and started retweeting and following folks in the Indivisible movement, including our key @IndivisibleATX account that helps coordinate our actions across Austin.

Indivisible TX-17 logoYou see, we in Austin are the victims of extreme gerrymandering. In fact, Austin has been called “the only major Texas city and the largest city in America without a congressional district anchored in it.” As the 11th largest city in America, with the residents of all 10 larger cities comprising at least the majority of their districts, Austin instead is divided into 6 (SIX) congressional districts!

Why?

Austin is rather liberal compared to the rather conservative state that surrounds us. What better way to ensure us weirdos (Keep Austin Weird!) are not fully represented? So, our congressional district, TX-17, runs from a tiny sliver of north Austin all the way east to Bryan-College Station, northwest to Waco then northeast into a large swath of rural (i.e. very conservative) central Texas. Hence, our – not surprisingly Republican – Congressman is Rep. Bill Flores. His principal local office appears to be in Waco.

Bill doesn’t seem like a bad guy. He’s just been in a safe district for a while, so he’s unaccustomed to seeing any resistance. But he’s our representative, so we followed him on Twitter. Then we engaged with or retweeted a few folks who had challenged him on Twitter. We NEVER, at any time, engaged with @RepBillFlores directly nor said anything disparaging about him.

The Disappearing Act

It was a surprise when, earlier today, less than 2 days after creating our Twitter account, we went to see our Rep’s latest tweets only to find this:

Screen shot of Rep. Bill Flores' Twitter account showing he'd blocked our account

REALLY? We’re a group organizing in his own district. We are all constituents! Guess it doesn’t really matter, though…

He may not want to see our tweets, but we’re not going away. It’s not like we can’t see his tweets other ways. It’s not like we can’t keep engaging with other constituents who disagree with him. But it certainly seems to confirm that Bill, like many other Republicans and supporters of Trump, doesn’t appear to care what anyone thinks if it doesn’t confirm his ideology. Apparently, democracy, with its healthy debate of ideas, is not part of Making America Great Again.

Funny. We thought democracy IS what had made America so great!

What do you think? Has your Congressional Rep blocked your Twitter account without justification?