Is Congressman Andy Harris a Fraud or a Hypocrite?10/3/21
According to Mark Twain, “It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”
Nathaniel Hawthorne also observed “No man for any considerable period can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be true.”
Congressman Andy Harris has taken this oath of office 6 times: “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”
Congressman Harris has sworn an oath to “bear true faith and allegiance” to promoting the “general Welfare,” and as a physician he has sworn to “do no harm;” yet he fails to support scientific evidence and common sense efforts to prevent illness and death. Millions of unvaccinated Americans are instead choosing to place themselves, their families, friends and fellow human beings at risk as we remain in the grip of a pandemic.
Our Constitution guarantees individual liberties, but vaccination mandates, approved by our Supreme Court, have been enforced since 1905. As John Stuart Mill had noted even earlier, “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community against his will, is to prevent harm to others.”
A recent Environmental Working Group analyzed thousands of pages from the Defense Department and found that major military installations along the Chesapeake Bay have been polluting the Bay with man-made chemicals known as PFAS. These chemicals do not degrade; and they also contaminate the fish, shellfish and other wildlife consumed by Harris’s own constituents. Harris claims, “As co-chair of the Chesapeake Bay Caucus, and a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I am proud to have consistently fought for continued federal funding of the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program, and I will continue to do so.”
But Andy Harris voted against the PFAS Action Act of 2021, against the designation of PFAS as hazardous substances, against the appropriation of $200 million dollars to the Department of the Army for the regulation of wetlands, against allowing the Army Corps of Engineers to amend the definition of “waters of the United States,” and for the repeal of the Clean Water Rule for the waters protected under the Federal Waters Pollution Control Act.
To the detriment of our watermen and all our Eastern Shore, but to the benefit of Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms, Mountaire Farms, Amick Farms, and Allen Harim Foods, he opposed implementation of clean water and wetlands protection efforts designed to protect U.S. waters including the Chesapeake Bay. He is fond of pointing out that these large chicken producers are American job creators. They do, in fact, employ over 21,000 workers for whom Harris has obtained 22,000 guest worker visas; but most of these immigrants work at low wages and in conditions under which most American citizens would not work. Harris also prefers to leave the bulk of the nitrogen cleanup bill to residents and local contract growers. He was awarded the Delmarva Chicken Association Award, but is he promoting the “general Welfare?”
As a member of Congress, Harris is also sworn to execute our laws, suppress Insurrections, repel Invasions, and recognize that “the Electors…shall make distinct lists of all Persons voted for as President… and the Number of Votes for each, which Lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate; the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall be counted.”
Then on January 6, 2021, a mob of seditionists violently attacked the Capitol building to stop the electoral count. Five people died and 140 police officers were injured. A “violent act against civil authority or established government” is the definition of an insurrection; but Harris refused to acknowledge that an insurrection had occurred. He responded to WBAL-TV, ”Tear gas doesn’t frighten me. Later we heard there was a gunshot, but other than that there was no indication that this was a truly violent protest.”
The mission of the Capitol Police is to protect Congress, its members, employees, visitors, and facilities, so that their constitutional and legislative responsibilities can be carried out in a safe, secure and open environment; but when it came time to honor the officers who bravely fought this violent mob to protect him and his frightened staff, he would not approve the awarding of Congressional Gold Medals. These officers were and continue to be subjected to injuries and threats, and yet Harris called this bill a “publicity stunt.”
He is also sworn to ensure that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. Nor shall any State deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law.” He is also sworn to acknowledge that “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”
After multiple recounts in multiple states and over 60 lawsuits (most dismissed), our courts and state election officials confirmed the results of our election. Virtually no meaningful levels of fraud have been found, yet Harris voted against certifying the electoral votes of Arizona and Pennsylvania. He also supported a discredited lawsuit by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to not only seditiously disenfranchise the voters of Pennsylvania, but to put in jeopardy the votes of 84 million more American voters.
These efforts failed, but he would then focus upon retaining in our Capitol a bust of Chief Justice Roger Taney, a slave owner who believed slavery was appropriate in the United States and gave us the Dred Scott Decision. We must wonder why Harris, who claims to be a moral, religious man, continually places himself on the wrong side of moral behavior and our Constitution under the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments.
Implying that he is disciplined, he has also suggested, “A law and order atmosphere provides almost a mental discipline that, if you don’t grow up in it, you are not going to be a productive part of society.” Yet somehow he failed to obey the clear and unequivocal law stating that guns are prohibited on Capitol grounds. Failure to adhere to this regulation can result in arrest, fine and/or imprisonment; but just weeks after the January 6 insurrection, Harris would attempt to take a gun onto the House floor. We must wonder what “atmosphere” he grew up in.
On August 18, 2021, Harris criticized President Biden for his handling of the Afghanistan War exit. He stated, “Unfortunately, President Biden’s first real foreign policy test as commander-in-chief has been a catastrophe, potentially resulting in Taliban retribution against the thousands of Afghans who helped us and endangering the lives of Americans who are still on the ground in Kabul.”
Harris also called for President Biden to resign. Does he really believe, after Vietnam and Iraq and the sharp increase in Afghan civilian deaths following the Trump administration’s relaxation of airstrike codes, that war and conflict are orderly occasions that always go as planned? President Biden elected to leave Afghanistan after 20 years, and while he failed to evacuate all who wished to leave by August 30, he did oversee the removal out of harm’s way of over 125,000.
That this exit has been chaotic there can be no doubt, but what effort did Congressman Andy Harris, a vaunted member of the House Appropriations Committee, make to evacuate greater numbers? He did finally vote “yes” on July 22 to pass HR 3985. Averting Loss of Life and Injury by Expediting Special Immigration Visas would expedite an additional 8,000 SIVs for Afghans who had supported America’s efforts, but did not include their family members or other desperate Afghans who wished to leave. This bill was cosponsored by 26 Republicans, but Andy Harris seemed to have other issues on his mind.
On July 13 he had co-sponsored a hectoring letter to the Director of the National Security Agency to address a crisis more important than saving American and Afghan lives: Had the NSA illegally spied on the private texts and emails of Tucker Carlson? Carlson advocates a livestock de-worming medication not proven to combat Covid infections and discourages taking vaccines recommended by medical professionals. As a man of medicine, how can Harris justify supporting such an unhinged recommendation over recognized professional advice? Is this how he promotes our welfare? Is this how he does no harm?
At this point we might wonder if he is attempting to fool us into believing he honors his oaths, or if he has simply become bewildered about who he truly is. He has a chance to redeem himself. He told us in 2013, “I’ve become increasingly convinced term limits are the answer. Twelve years. That’s my bill.” Well, Mr. Harris, are you a man of your word now?
Marc Ebersberger is a member of the Talbot County Democratic Forum.