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Congressman Emanuel Cleaver

Representing the 5th District of MISSOURI

Filling The Void

Apr 19, 2016
Civility Message

Dear Friends,

Little Tommy Junior had been outside with his neighborhood friends playing in the hot Arizona sun for hours. When he finally went inside, with perspiration dripping from his nine-year-old face, he approached his mother with both arms over his stomach. “My stomach is hurting something terrible, terrible, Mom!” His mother responded, “Sweetie, that’s because it’s empty. You can fix that by putting something it.” A couple of days later, the pastor was visiting to go over the church budget with the mom who was the church treasurer. After an hour or so, the pastor stood holding his head in his hands and said, “Let’s finish tomorrow, my head is hurting so bad that I can’t think. My head is really hurting,” to which Tommy, Jr. immediately said, “That’s because it’s empty. You can fix that by putting something it.”

That reminds me of the emptiness I detect here in the Congress. There is legislative emptiness characterized by our inability to get much of anything done. And it is virtually impossible for anything good to be born out of emptiness. Yes, in spite of all the TV face time of our Members, all the quotes in print media, and the glitter and glamour of a couple of annual glitzy parties, there is a glowing Capitol Hill emptiness.

So what caused this emptiness? The answer is not so simple, but tomfoolery opposition to compromise is a pretty good diagnosis, and middle ground mediation is a good way to fill the void. Our emptiness can be fixed if we put something in it, that something is intentionality. We must be intentional about the give and take, which is required in a democracy.

Warmest Regards,


Emanuel Cleaver, II
Member of Congress