Dear Readers: I wrote this article for The Literate Pen four years ago on the eve of that election. I ask you today as we go to the polls to read it again and think back over the last four years and ask yourself whether things are better or worse.
Dear Member of Congress (or hopeful new member)
On Tuesday, the second of November, millions of your fellow Americans will go to the polls to decide whether some of you deserve another chance to serve them in the United States Congress. I use the word “serve” lightly because so many of you have forgotten what the word means, or what service of any kind is.
Those of you who are running for the first time may THINK you know the meaning of service but it is doubtful that your memory will function correctly once you have lowered your right hand, after having taken an oath to well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which you are about to enter. Perhaps the oath of office should be changed to an “oath of service” and should read “I will well and faithfully serve the citizens who have put me here in the first place”….that way, it is completely clear what you were sent there to do.
Ladies and Gentlemen, your country is angry at you, angrier than they have been in a long time. You spoke great rhetoric, in sweeping sentences, leaving no group untouched in the hopes that they would place their trust in you and allow you to be their collective voice on the national stage, yet when it came down to it, so many of you represented not the interests of the people but the interests of yourself and those whose checkbooks financed your ambitions.
You promised stability, yet you created chaos; you promised a return to normalcy, then you redefined what normalcy is. You didn’t fight to protect our jobs, yet you continue to take more and more of our earnings away from those of us who still have them and use it to fund programs that most of us have no interest in. You profess to want to work with your Democrat or Republican counterparts, yet you throw up obstacles to prevent that from happening, just as your counterparts do the same, resulting in an impasse through which no hope may shine through.
You profess to love America and that you will fight to preserve our freedoms and our liberties, yet you chip away at those freedoms and you erode our liberties, whether it be in the name of security or the name of protecting those who have no right to be here. You would remove the one Being that so many of us do still trust from every vestige of our national consciousness if you weren’t afraid your constituents would rise up in mass against you, all in the name of making sure some people don’t get their feelings hurt. Each and every day that many of you hold office, our Nation becomes weaker and the beacon we shine for the world grows dimmer.
Many of you on both sides of the aisle allowed us to slide into an economic abyss and your solution was to ensure that our children and grandchildren would carry a horrendous debt but as any finance major can tell you, debt is not something you can spend your way out of. You forced a health care plan on us that many of us will never get any benefit out of, yet we will pay for it with money we earn from the sweat of our brow, rather than working together to come up with a solution that everyone could live with. While you refer to it as a health care crisis, it is a child of your own creation, nurtured in an environment where anyone could sue in court and our insurance companies would pick up the tab. You have empowered some of your own members with incredible power to wield in pursuit of their own agendas and not the national agenda of the voting public and every few years you pass the gavel to the other side so they can do the same thing.
You have taxed us to the brink of destitution, yet you throw our money away on useless programs and pork barrel spending that you hope will garner you the votes you need to hold on to your job a few more years. You have supported those who have scratched your backs, but you turn your backs on the people who trusted you, the people who believed in you and the people who entrusted their well-being to you….yet here you come, once again, hat in hand, and have the audacity to ask us to believe in you once again.
I ask you, why should we? Why should 307 million of us put our faith, our confidence and our collective wealth in the hands of 535 men and women who have abused that faith, shaken that confidence and eroded that wealth, time and time again? Our ancestors rebelled against a monarch who abused the faith we put in him and formed a government that would be representative of our collective will and that would make us the standard for the whole world to follow.
For 200 years, we accomplished that. We fought wars and prevailed against those that would have seen us destroyed. We innovated and created new technologies to enhance our lives and make our standard of living the envy for the world. We conquered diseases and plagues by finding cures that would ensure a longer and more productive life for many of us. We created centers for learning that rivaled the best the world had to offer and when we were challenged, we rose to meet that challenge and surpassed our own selves. You talk about raising the bar while forgetting that for a couple of centuries, we WERE the bar. We pushed the boundaries of our world and set foot on the moon using technologies that were not dreamed of a decade before. We built a life here and overcame obstacles, secure in the knowledge that our Congress and our President had our backs and were looking out for us all. The American Dream was available to all who would put in the time and work towards that goal….but somewhere along the way, you lost your sense of direction and misplaced your moral compass. You ran for office not to serve the people but to serve yourselves and when you ran for that office, you were running against someone and not for something. That scribble that you see is the writing on the wall and that sound you hear is the sound of an angry nation.
We have grown weary of your rhetoric and tired of your endless campaigns that do nothing to enlighten us as to your ability to serve but instructs us only on how effective you are at smearing your opponent. We grow tired of being labeled as Red or Blue when all we want to be is the America that we once used to be. We are turning a deaf ear to your sermons but we haven’t turned a blind eye to your shortcomings and these will become your undoing. You are asking us to return many of you to Congress or to select others of you to replace these in the hopes that you can do a better job but we have become distrustful of you all.
Some of you will return to Washington and some of you will go home with your tail between your legs and when the dust from Tuesday has settled, a new Congress will be in place, for better or worse. Whether your majority is Democrat or Republican remains to be seen but in the final analysis, that will make no difference if you can’t put aside your differences and start working for the people who sent you there. You represent US and you better gain awareness of where your bread is buttered or you in the long run, you will be toast.
You don’t have long to get it right because we are nearing the threshold where recovering this nation and restoring us to greatness will no longer be possible. Your people are angry and they are standing up against you, determined to drive you from power and replace you with servant leaders who can save us from irrelevance. Put aside your differences and stand for something. Help your people by giving them a hand up, not a handout.
Leave our income alone and take only what is essential. Whether one group drove this car in the ditch is of no matter because the other group just floored the gas and dug it in deeper. Work together to push it out of the ditch and get it back on the road again…and remember the reason for being a servant of the public and not a servant to yourselves because if you are in it for the power and the glory, you will be out on your asses.
If you agree, let me hear from you….if you don’t, that is still a right guaranteed to you and I respect you for it.