Congressman Thompson’s decision to not show up is par for the course

Published 1:22 pm Wednesday, February 5, 2020

U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson was wrong Tuesday.

By deciding to boycott the President’s State of the Union speech he failed to not only act as a responsible member of Congress but failed to represent his constituents in Mississippi’s Second Congressional District.

Congressman Thompson’s action was grandstanding without effect. His actions were selfish and were little about making a statement.

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Everyone knows where Congressman Thompson stands when it comes to President Trump. He was calling for the president’s impeachment long before the recent proceedings began and has done little more than rail against the president, his policies and his actions.

Tuesday was an embarrassment not just because he failed to show up, but also because he made it about himself and not about why such a move was made.

We know Congressman Thompson disagrees with the president on just about everything other than the color of the sky, and there’s a good chance both might even disagree on that. But, not showing up to the State of the Union, an event that is called for in the Constitution, is just weak.

But our disappointment with his move to not show up is not with that action, but this action in combination with the fact that Congressman Thompson is an absentee congressman. For those who live in Vicksburg and Warren County, Congressman Thompson is just a name, not a true representative.

As a newspaper, we cannot tell you the last time he made an appearance in Vicksburg, one of the largest cities in his district. And, the fact he does not have a congressional office in Vicksburg is a glaring and intentional omission.

If you are still not convinced Thompson is not representing us well, all you need to do is look back at his opinions and statements regarding the historic Yazoo Backwater Area Flood and the call for completion of the backwater pumps project.

For quite some time, Thompson has been hesitant to fully endorse the completion of the pumps project and only half-heartedly supported the plan when public opinion raged for the project’s completion.

He has even voiced ideas of buying people out of their homes that might be at risk of flooding instead of investing in a system experts firmly believe would work. He has even said the pumps would cause problems downstream, which experts have also dispelled.

It’s an election year for the congressman and he has competition from Democrats and Republicans. It is our hope those opposing candidates are viable competition not just necessarily to unseat the congressman, but to at the very least earn his re-election.

Congressman Thompson decided not to show up Tuesday night, but then again, for those of us who live in Vicksburg and Warren County, we have come to expect it.