I am an outraged Kingman resident and constituent of Paul Gosar, who represents Arizona’s 4th District in the U.S. Congress. The reason for my outrage is his longstanding practice of blocking constituents on social media, a practice that betrays the very U.S. Constitution that he swore to protect and defend.
I was blocked from commenting on his Facebook page about three months ago. Through social media, I have since found many other constituents who have also been blocked. One constituent was blocked three years ago, and he is still blocked.
I, like the others, have received no response to requests for the reason why we were blocked. So I have been protesting in person, as well as on social media through the Indivisible Kingman Twitter network with a repeated request for Rep. Gosar to stop blocking his constituents.
The blocking continues.
In response to my request for Rep. Gosar’s official position statement as to why he blocks constituents, I received the following “short list” that apparently elicits a block by a random, unknown staffer:
“Engage in hate speech, use profanity, use racial slurs, show intolerance, express rage or anger, are homophobic or [I]slamophobic, and express treasonous or dangerous thoughts.”
While some offenses on this list may “seem” like a legitimate reason to block a Facebook user, Rep. Gosar is a government official who is arbitrarily blocking constituents without warning, explanation, or accountability, an act that denies all blocked constituents: (1) equal access to official Congressional District Facebook town halls; (2) Constitutional right to free speech; (3) Constitutional right to assemble in public spaces and protest; (4) Constitutional right to due process; and (5) Constitutional right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
In contrast, some of these “offenses” are also on Facebook’s list of community standard violations that may warrant a Facebook block. However, a Facebook block is a temporary block lasting no more than 48 hours, whereas a constituent block by Rep. Gosar is a permanent block with no process for appeal, removal, or accountability. Sadly, my personal protest has not been enough to modify this unacceptable behavior of Rep. Gosar.
This this is a constituent issue,
not a partisan issue. And Rep. Gosar’s constituents have a right to know and hold him accountable when his blatant disregard for and willful violation of constituents’ civil liberties also betray his oath of office.
The solemn promise he swore to uphold for each and every constituent on that very first day he took office.