Tuesday, February 22, 2011

An Open Letter to Congress

Dear Congressman (includes those of you who are ladies),

Good Morning!

I don't know if you'll be reading this any time soon, because I notice that Congress is in recess until February 25th (the Senate calls it a "state work period" and the House calls it a "constituent work week"). It must be nice to be able to not be in session when the nation is in a grave fiscal crisis ... but we'll get to that in a minute.

I'm also not sure that you're especially interested from hearing from a Real Person. I'm neither a screaming Tea Party wingnut nor a Republican-stereotyped weed-smoking, America-hating liberal (be sure to pronounce the word "liberal" with the usual dripping scorn). I'm not an oil magnate or an agribusiness mogul. I'm not represented by any big-money K Street lobbyists. I don't belong to the NRA, the AMA, or what's left of any union. I'm a Real Person - a retired military officer with a job (for the moment, anyhow), a large mortgage, three children, five grandchildren, and a serious concern for the future we're leaving them. I absolutely refuse to be characterized as either a Republican or a Democrat, because I have nothing but disgust for how both parties are acting.

Anyhow, I thought I'd drop you a line to tell you what I think about the current budget "discussions" going on in Washington, particularly talk about a possible shutdown of the government if Republican and Democratic representatives can't agree on a combination of taxes and spending cuts. Let me offer you a Real Person's perspective on what a shutdown of the government would mean:

1. Along with tens of thousands of other people, I'll be out of work. I'm a contractor working for the government, which means that if you shut down the government, not only won't I get paid, but I won't get paid retroactively, either, as most Federal employees will. Oh, and by the way, I won't receive my military retired pay for my 23 years of service, either. At least I'm not drawing Social Security yet, so losing that won't hurt me like it will hurt all the Real People who depend on it.

2. If I'm out of work, this means that I won't be able to pay my mortgage (which is within 6 years of being paid off). Of course, I could explain my situation to the bank and hope that they'll be willing to work with me until I start getting paid again ... but I think recent history shows just how understanding and conciliatory banks are.

3. If I'm out of work, I guess I'll just go ahead and get another job. Oh, wait! There aren't any! Businesses are sitting on mountains of cash, but aren't hiring any new workers because they don't think they can afford it in this economy ... and, of course, throwing tens of thousands of government workers and those who depend on government activity out of work will certainly encourage businesses to hire!

I could go on, but I will just say this: I can't believe that you would go into recess at a time of crisis like this. Yes, it's important to stay in touch with your constituents, but you were elected to a national office. Don't you think it might be important to stay in Washington and deal with the situation that affects the nation?

Finally, consider this: if the government shuts down and I'm put out of work, you'd better be out of work, too. I would consider it the worst sort of treachery if you earned so much as a single dime after tossing thousands of Real People out of work because you are too stubborn and politically dogmatic to do your jobs.

I'm watching. So are millions of other Real People. But we're not expecting to see the sort of principled, yet flexible leadership the nation requires...just more political chest-thumping and tin-eared insults to hard-working Americans like "so be it" and "read my lips."

End of tirade.

I'm copying this into an e-mail and letter that will be going to my Senators and Representatives, not that it will do much good. Perhaps all of you, Dear Readers, can join with me and pool our resources to rent a Member of Congress for a while.

It's the only language they seem to understand.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



allenwoodhaven said...

Well said! Now if it wouldn't just fall on deaf ears....

Phil Stratton said...


Well said. But the previous commenter is probably right; deaf ears is where your message has most likely gone. You and I, who gave more than 20 years of our lives to keep our government and population safe, seem to have a different view on things than those who are the powerful elite who run this country. We used to be a country governed by the people, not the elite.

Hopefully, we haven't gone so far away from following the Constitution that we can't make it back to where we should be.

Chrissy said...

Agreed...very well said. Why can't you run for office? Actually, I wish you had been my political science prof in college....everything you say makes sense...my prof...not so much.

I'm going to share this post with some friends.

Raquel's World said...

AMEN- Bilbo!

I agree with you so much so that I just linked this page on my page and posted it on facebook. For you so eloquently said what so many of us feel.
Good Job!

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...


Mike said...

Maybe they will stop their pay AND their health insurance. Hey, it could happen. Maybe.

KathyA said...

I think this should be read aloud to Congress and the Senate. Why risk thinking any of them can read?