An early-rising, hard-working city
“For the people in government, rather than the people who pester it, Washington is an early-rising, hard-working city. It is a popular delusion that the government wastes vast amounts of money through inefficiency and sloth. Enormous effort and elaborate planning are required to waste this much money.” — P. J. O’Rourke
Say what you want about Washington DC, but in my opinion, P. J. O’ Rourke is right. (In my opinion, P. J. is almost always right, but that’s a different topic.) People do rise early and work hard here. I’ve been watching them do so, or sleeping through them doing so, for four years now. It amazes me how early my husband and my neighbors get up and out each morning. OK, so maybe it’s primarily because of mostly unsuccessful efforts to beat the traffic, but still.
At the risk of stirring up a hornet’s nest, I want to say that I honestly believe most of our politicians and their staff work pretty hard. That’s not to say that they all are correct, wise or even honest. But they do work hard. For a variety of reasons too long to go into here, I’ve had occasion to be in fairly close proximity with state and federal elected officials in several different situations, and I find it tiring to experience just one day — or part of a day — of what they live through EVERY TIME they go to work.
People think of politicians as doing a lot of talking, but it seems to me that what they do most is listen, listen, listen — to each other, to their constituents, to the press, to other governmental officials, to lobbyists, and to everyday people who speak to them, formally and informally, on various issues of concern.
Whether you are happy or unhappy with your local state senator and/or U. S. Congressman, I have a suggestion that might be eye-opening: get to know them. Ask for their assistance if there’s an ongoing issue you’ve been unable to resolve. Request a meeting with them. Let them know how you feel about what is going on, and how you wish they would vote. You might be surprised how available they are to you, how patiently they will listen, how sincerely they will make an effort to help.
For the most part, I have been impressed with those I have contacted (except for one particular U. S. Senator
named Barbara B who will go unnamed here, but even then, her fellow U. S. Senator was as responsive as her colleague was useless, under extremely difficult post-9/11 circumstances). Several times I’ve had individual situations that might never have been solved without the direct intervention of a Congressman, and I’ve had help from both parties, both sides of the aisle. That’s the truth.
When I first started approaching my elected officials for help, I didn’t know anyone in government, had no special connections, no influence, nothing at all that got me any privileges. All I did was ask, and sometimes, keep asking. Try it! You never know what might come of it. I can speak from experience on that one!
One year ago today:
This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.
- Posted in: Uncategorized
- Tagged: activism, advocacy, congress, democracy, elected officials, government, politicians, president, U. S. Capitol, Washington DC
Good morning, Julia! Thanks so much for this post! I hadn’t given it much thought, but I think I did suffer from the misconception that politicians were generally careless. Your own testament (as a real person that I know, with no political agenda) is enough to convince me to think again.
Here, again, I benefit from the struggles you’ve endured. Bless you, Julia!
Thank you Susan, I’m glad you found it helpful. We hear so much about how bad politicians are– and some of them are bad indeed– that we forget what hard work they do and how many of them try their best to do the right thing. As with many other professions (police officers, soldiers, teachers, parents– and I do consider GOOD parenting a profession, albeit unpaid), the bad ones get all the press. A shame, really, and one we need to bear in mind before we complain or denigrate, especially when we criticize politicians from other states whose elections WE HAVE NO RIGHT TO INFLUENCE through the flow of millions of dollars from places that know nothing of what that state’s residents actually face. That’s the closest thing to a political agenda I’m going to voice here.