"Do now, do now, what you will wish to have done when your moment comes to die." [St. Angela Merici]

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dear Members of Congress

By Micky Wolf

Should you, elected Representative or Senator, happen by here…this is not the first time I have felt the urgency to ‘cry out’ if you will, as a citizen.
Dear Members:

The recent election is history. The State of the Union, as delivered by our sitting President and commented on by numerous folks of all manner of political and philosophical persuasion, is also a matter of record.

Now what? Seems, we are once again being served an over-sized portion of business as usual, which for the past couple of years has meant bickering, finger-pointing and plentiful variations of sighing, moaning, and groaning. To what end, we might ask, does such behavior on the part of our elected representatives serve any meaningful purpose?

Disagreeing, vociferously defending one’s personal ideology, and ranting about the state of the nation in general are not new. One only need take a cursory view of past Congresses and the Presidents with whom they jousted on a variety of issues. It seems, however, there was one significant difference between those good-old-bad-days and these—their ideological fisticuffs were carried on behind closed doors and they always seemed to manage to consider their differences in light of the bigger picture—what is best for our country and how can we best serve the majority of those who have elected us to office. Egos flourished in all their ugliness at times. Yet, for the distinct preponderance of public servants, even the great “I” eventually managed to be set aside long enough to appreciate that apart from unity amidst differences, our country would flounder at best, and sink into darker recesses of failure or collapse of historical proportions at worst.

The need to be right and to assign responsibility for our problems to other people, personally as well as corporately, has plagued mankind and yes, womankind, since the beginning of time. So, get over it. Stop spinning your wheels—and our precious time, resources, and energy—on trying to prove that working in unity amidst varying perspectives is everyone else’s responsibility rather than your own.

While you are doggedly pressing ahead, determined to point out and dwell upon any and every little detail of why you have decided they are wrong and you have the singular best solution, we, your constituents, are trying to pay our bills, care for our families, and for the most part, be kind and considerate of our fellow travelers. 

It seems that lest you take a different course of action [or is it inaction?]—that being one grounded in forging meaningful working relationships with one another for the sole purpose of empowering and encouraging resourcefulness and empathy in problem-solving—we, your constituents will eventually choose indifference to you and your office. Not a good thing, by any sense of measure or reason. 

We do have one significant ‘power’ to wield in the midst of all this—our singular vote. Most of us can be very forgiving of many things, political and otherwise. However, please understand—with the most intentional heart-attitude of forgiving one another for the hurtful consequences of our actions, it is nigh on to humanely impossible to forget the incidents which incited the wound in the first place. We will go to the polls in future elections aware of the way you have behaved and the choices you have made—or not.

I state once again, elected representative, that I am an optimist, that somehow, in spite of what seems your individual efforts to place your interests above all else and sabotage the heart and spirit for which this great nation has come to be globally mostly respected, somehow, most of us ‘out here’ cling to the hope you will eventually rise above the arrogance, stubbornness, and self-righteous attitudes which speak louder than any words could ever manage to do. 

The questions may be: how much more critical, judgmental and blame-shifting excrement will be thrown in the fan—and yes, in the faces—of we, your constituents? How much more time will pass before honesty, humility, honor, and respect once again inhabit the offices, attitudes, and hearts and minds of you, the  men and women who too often rage, murmur or clench, when present on the floor of the House and Senate?

So, what will you choose this day, dear Representative and Senator? More of the same? Ranting? Pouting? Finger-pointing? Blame-shifting? Or something better, more compassionate. More empathic. Dare I suggest, more Christ-like?

We wait. And watch. And hope.

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