What is the role of social media in politics?

Kimmi Lewis represents Lamar and other communities in the Colorado House of Representatives. An extremely conservative Republican, Rep. Lewis was one of only 9 state Representatives who voted against expelling fellow House member Steve Lebsock from the Colorado House. Lebsock was accused of sexually harassing female representatives, lobbyists, and other women; demanding sex from them; and retaliating when they refused.

The final vote was 52 for expulsion and 9 against.

But this website isn't about that.

This website is about the role of social media in politics and what happened when I asked my state representative, Kimmi Lewis, through her Facebook page, to explain why she voted against expelling Lebsock.

Are Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms the modern equivalent of a town hall in which constituents can ask questions and hold elected officials accountable or is social media merely another tool for propaganda from politicians who have forgotten that they work for us and not the other way around?

First, she deleted my words.

Rep. Lewis does not allow original comments on her Facebook page. You must submit a comment which must then be approved. This type of setup is annoying but is not unusual for political social media sites . I submitted a simple request: "Please explain why you voted against expelling Steve Lebsock." No one ever saw it.

Readers did not see my original polite, respectful question. Instead, they saw a response from Rep. Lewis that looked as though she was addressing the type of person who might be crazy enough to build a website over something as petty as being blocked on Facebook, which, as it turns out, she was, but that's not the point.

Here is what she wrote. My reply follows:

Then she deleted my words. Again.

Because I have dealt with authoritarian politicians before, I had expected Rep. Lewis to delete my reply and had saved it as an image. When she lived up to that expectation, I posted the image as a comment on her page. It was at this point that I was blocked from making any further comments. Not just on that thread, but on anything. I am no longer allowed to contact my elected representative through Facebook. She, however, can and has used my name as a straw man argument. Her response to my original, now deleted comment reads more like a press release than a comment on Facebook.

Then she refused to talk to me.

I called the office of Representative Lewis, my voice in the Colorado legislature, to express my concern and frustration over the Lebsock vote and the fact that I was now blocked from the Facebook page. The aide who answered the phone took my name, phone number, and email address. So far, there has been no response.

So why can't I just let this go?

I am fed up with politicians who think they can ignore or simply dismiss their constituents. Our elected officials, from President on down to County Commissioner, work for us and should be accountable to us. Instead, people like Kimmi Lewis believe that they are only accountable to their donors and the people who agree with them. If you are a Democrat in a heavily Republican district, you effectively have no representation. Kimmi Lewis and politicians like her do not tolerate any form of disagreement. She refuses to be accountable to voters.

It is worth noting that Kimmi Lewis not only does not represent voters like me, but she is also out of step even with her fellow Republicans Ms. Lewis was one of only 9 Republicans to vote against expelling Lebsock.

If elected officials are going to engage in social media, then they need to allow constituents to ask questions and express their concerns. This is especially true when their social media accounts are maintained by staff members who are paid with taxpayer dollars.

What do you think?