The Austin Chronicle

The Hightower Report

What happened to Doug Hughes' letters to Congress?

By Jim Hightower, May 15, 2015, News

When mailman Doug Hughes delivered a powerful message to Congress in April, he drew saturation coverage from the mass media.

Not coverage of his message, mind you, but a ridiculous spasm of media scaremongering over the nonexistent terrorist threat that our self-absorbed members of Congress say his visit posed to them. Hughes is the plucky rural letter carrier who piloted his little one-person gyrocopter undetected through Washington's no-fly airspace, landing in Congress' front yard. He was "special-delivering" letters he'd composed to all 535 lawmakers, dramatically conveying to them that We the People are fed up with legislators who're routinely bought at auction by corporate powers.

While Hughes carried no weapons of terrorism on his flight, the message he brought to Washington is politically explosive. So, congressional leaders, who're always terrified about anything that might ignite public outrage over their pay-to-play corruption, quickly rushed to divert attention from the message ... to the messenger.

Shazam! In an instant, the politicos fabricated a sob story about themselves, recasting their role from for-sale villains to pitiable victims. We're threatened by a security network so porous, they squealed, that terrorists can fly right up to the Capitol building. They convened emergency hearings, went on talk shows, and imperiously demanded that they be made safe. And the media meekly bought into the whole hubbub, entirely losing sight of the damning message that the mailman was carrying.

Hughes is facing a prison term and his gyrocopter was confiscated, but here's one question that he (and we) deserve to have answered: What happened to his 535 letters? Were they delivered to the addressees, did members read them, has anyone responded? So far, the media hasn't even bothered to inquire.

Copyright © 2022 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.