Saturday, September 3, 2011

Dear Congressman: Grow up, already

To all the members of the Congress of the United States:

You haven't learned a single thing.

The compromise upon which you settled, in order to bring an end to the debt-limit crisis and avert a larger crisis, was admirable.  We must give you credit for that.  But the acrimony, the stubbornness, and the brinksmanship which preceded the compromise were deplorable and childish.

Or, in more common language, your behavior sucks.  Your attitude sucks.  You're acting like a bunch of little babies.  If I were a private businessman, I would never hire someone like you to work for me.  If I did, you would alienate all of my customers.  My suppliers would refuse to do business with me, and my best employees would resign, all because of you.  You would ruin my business.

Immediately after the compromise became law, you ran out of town en masse for your summer break - leaving undone all sorts of important tasks that had been repeatedly deferred because of your STUPID arguing over the debt limit.  The most visible of these undone tasks was the FAA funding bill that needed closure, in order to pay air traffic controllers, repair many of the nation's runways, and generally keep air travel safe.

Once again, if you were a salaried employee at my business, I would fire you for such immature behavior.  Even teenage burger flippers are more responsible than that.  And we pay you, as senators and representatives, to get the important stuff done, not to punch a time clock.  Hourly employees punch the time clock; salaried employees stay until the job is done.  Do you not understand that?

If you don't understand that, then you've lived in Washington for too long.  It's time for you to come home permanently, and not just for the summer.

Now, traditionally, on summer break, you meet with your constituents back home.  This year, many of you are breaking with tradition and hiding from your constituents.  The number of so-called "town hall" meetings you are holding has been sharply curtailed, and many of these meetings have been replaced with invitation-only events, or events which carry an admission charge, or carefully scripted and fiercely moderated Internet events.  These events allow you (or your handlers) to control who has access to you, and what they're allowed to say to you.

In a way, I can understand the change.  On CNN and other television news outlets, we've seen video of town hall meetings and other face-to-face events in 2011, which have been hijacked by organized groups and used to promote their own narrow agendas.  Don't worry about those people.  Let them hijack the events.  The rest of us won't put up with it for long, and we'll use the power of We The People to shut down those disruptors.  But for you to attempt to hide from your constituents, and to surround yourselves with fans and sycophants, is cowardly and immature.  When we elected you, we thought you had more courage than that.

We can still vote you out of office.  And believe me, we will.  I'm surprised that none of you have faced a recall vote yet - my guess is that the inertia of the American voter is temporarily saving some of your hides.  But in November 2012, We The People will definitely make our voices heard.

And don't tell us you didn't see it coming.

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