Mason County News
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It's Not All About the Party
Wednesday, February 10, 2010 • Posted February 10, 2010

Monday was a hectic day. The Commissioners' Court had a three hour meeting in the morning, and the City of Mason had a 1.75 hour meeting that evening. In between, we were working on getting all the stories typeset, getting the pictures ready, and figuring out what all would be in this week's paper.

During the early afternoon, I had a surprise visitor drop by, and I must say it was a very pleasant surprise. U.S. Representative Michael K. Conaway, along with his Chief of Staff, Richard Hudson, were heading through Mason to Fredericksburg to attend a Tea Party event on Monday evening. He had dropped by Judge Bearden's office; but, found him busy in a meeting.

Congressman Conaway and I have had several interactions since he's been in office. He has always been polite, professional and sincere. He and I both know that, politically, we may not find a great deal to agree on; but, we are also both intelligent men who can discuss more than just one topic.

So, though he and Richard could have headed on down the highway and had extra time to grab a snack and a drink, they opted instead to stop in and say hello.

Mike Conaway and I are not so far apart in years. We also both know several folks in common, and we enjoyed catching up on those individuals and sharing stories.

I bring up this visit to underscore something that President Obama has been mentioning since his State of the Union address, and in subsequent speeches. Civility.

President Obama noted that the climate in Washington for the last 20 years has seen the erosion of basic courtesy and respect for others. He asked if everyone had become so focused on the "prize" that they had forgotten about the people along the route. He stood before the congressmen and senators and urged them to start finding ways to set aside their differences when they could, and to attempt to have meaningful and constructive conversations.

Mike Conaway set a great example of that kind of attempt at civility when he stopped by on Monday. Though I may not vote in the Republican primary, Mr. Conaway understands that he is still MY congressman. He asked me what I felt were some of the problems and concerns facing I and my neighbors, and he listened intently as we discussed the power lines, a sluggish local economy, displeasure at the current gridlock in Washington, and a number of other topics.

His answers weren't always what I was wanting to hear; but, they were honest and based upon his own opinions and on sound reasoning. He would occasionally begin a discussion with a grin, knowing that I might not agree; but, also knowing that I would be fair and hear him out, possibly even learning something new in the process.

I know that the Congressman's time is valuable and I thank him for sharing some of that on Monday. He and I both knew I would not be attending the Tea Party, even if I had not had prior commitments. I don't know what some of the comments at that gathering might have been by the participants; but, I will hold out hope that the civil tone I experienced earlier in the day may have been carried on through the evening.

And, I extend my personal thanks to Congressman Conaway and Mr. Hudson for providing me with a glimmer of hope during a busy day.

It’s all just my opinion.

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