Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Open Letter to Our Representatives

To those who won their elections, congratulations. There’s been a lot of talk about how you have heard the message. There’s a lot of lip service to acknowledge the “earthquake.” Save it. Lip service means absolutely nothing to me.

You may be new to the office, but we have been down this road before. This election was not about the Democratic Party. This election was not about the Republican Party. This election, at least to me, was about making sure that the representatives we send to Washington are just that, OUR representatives. You have been elected at our pleasure, and that is how you serve.

The last time the Republicans led Congress, they learned very well how to expand government, while cutting taxes. Then the Democrats took over and continued to expand government, while raising taxes. Neither approach worked. Now, you have been given a new chance. Don’t blow it. To help you, I thought I would put together a few pointers to help you out.

1. Read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Then, re-read them until you understand them. Those documents do not grant us any rights. We already had those rights when you got here. We owe you nothing for them. Those documents serve to limit the role of government. Make it your job to do the same.

2. Understand the following: “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” I’m not going to tell you where that is written. You should have found it in Step 1. You are not our great savior. Believe it or not, we get along just fine without your help most times. We’ll let you know when we need you – you know, that whole “consent of the governed” thing. Ask for our advice. And when you get it, don’t dismiss it because we are “racist,” “bitter,” “dumb,” etc… Don’t tell me to accept it, and that I’ll like it when it’s all done. You’re not my mom, and it’s not medicine. I trusted you enough to send you to Washington, trust me with an honest explanation. Don’t take it upon yourself to think for a moment that you know better or that we are too dumb to understand.

3. Before you stick your nose in something, find out if we want it there. Ronald Reagan said: "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" Understand that a lot of us feel that way. Therefore, the first response to a problem should NOT be a federal program or department. That just probably means you need to take more of my money to create a mediocre, complicated way to pretend to do something about it. Don’t.

4. Speaking of money. I work a bazillion hours a week. I’ve been doing so since I was a teenager. I have worked at jobs I either just tolerated or outright hated. I’m not even that happy with what I am doing now. But, my obligations as a husband and father outweigh my desire to be comfortable and happy. Why does that matter to you? Because you need to know that I work for me and my family. I don’t work so that you can continue to take my money and make someone else happy. And, no matter how you phrase it, a tax, a fine, a fee, whatever, it’s all about your hand going into my pocket, taking my wallet, and giving the money in there to someone else. If I do that, it’s called robbery. Don’t expect me to be too happy if you do it to me. I may not be able to send you to jail, but I can send you home.

5. Keep your promises. That’s why we put you there. If you lied to us, we’ll replace you, and if you lie bad and often enough, we’ll replace your party.  If loyalty to your party is more important to you than loyalty to your constituents, you will hear us again.  We will find someone who gets it.

Given the tone of this message, you may be concerned that I don’t trust you. You’re absolutely correct.  My trust, like my vote, must be earned.  Then, even when earned, it must be kept.  So far, Congress has been striking out.

It's your turn to bat.  Remember, I'll be keeping score.


Rev. Paul said...

Well said. The new Repubs will keep it in mind, at least for awhile. I have no confidence in ANY of the others.

Lawyer said...

I think if the electorate stays as involved as we should be, we can keep their feet to the fire and keep them honest.

I hope, anyway.

Rick O' Shea said...


I truly think that this post in its entirety should be sent to every politician in the country.

Nice summary, counselor.

Lawyer said...

Rick O' Shea: Thanks!

MikeyB said...

Very well put. I am a firm believer in communicating often with my elected representatives, with both positive and negative input concerning their job performance. If we all give them regular performance appraisals, and let them know we are watching each and every thing the do...well then there won't be any surprises next election.

Lawyer said...

Mikey B: I wholeheartedly agree with you. Two and a half years ago, I only cared enough to vote. Now, I'm sure I'm on some list somewhere. They hear from me.