To the editor:
Upon reading the front-page story of Congressman Gene Taylor’s recent visit to Laurel, I can’t seem to shake the initial feeling that the headline gave me. I have met Congressman Taylor and have, for the most part, admired and respected his efforts to do the best thing for the most people in South Mississippi. He does, usually, display a character decidedly rare in Washington, D.C. I must admit that I have not been quite as impressed with his Staff since my friend Mrs. Jerry Martin retired. But I digress…
Congressman Taylor’s statement that “The Blue Dogs have done America a great favor by delaying the vote (on so-called Health-Care Reform)”, is somewhat “accurate” from a certain perspective, I suppose. However, I am struck with the previously-mentioned feeling that this statement communicates so much more than it initially appears to.
I am sincerely proud that there was sufficient resistance in Washington to force the “Leadership” to postpone voting on the current bill. It seems to demonstrate that there are at least a few of our U.S. Representatives who are able to recognize Bad Legislation. I fear that many (most?) of them likely placed their re-election chances at the top of their list of concerns when deciding what course to follow. Of course, this is nothing new. I would hope that the seemingly renewed interest on the part of Americans in the performance of our elected officials will continue at least until the 2010 elections and, thereby, “keep up the pressure” on those whom we are paying to look after our interests.
My “unshakable feeling” stems from the fact that Congressman Taylor’s statement seems to indicate that they are “doing us a favor” simply by doing the job we hired them to do. Perhaps it was not the best choice of words to make the precise point he wanted to make. Or has he (and so many others in Washington) really come to see themselves as “doing us a favor” simply by doing the job we are paying them to do? Maybe it comes from the fact that so many of our elected officials routinely display such complacency and disregard for our interests that, when they actually do something right, it seems (to them, at least) that they are “doing us a favor” by just doing the job we hired them to do.
Just as some of my employers have voiced appreciation for my having occasionally performed beyond the average expectation, I offer my appreciation for the fact that we had enough U.S. Congressional Members with the presence of mind to at least slow down the process of pushing through this round of bad legislation; the process is nowhere near over at this point. Still, I can not quite see it as their having “done us a favor” by doing so. They simply did this part of their job better than we usually figure most of them will. Maybe if they were working for free, it would all have a different feel, but I do not recall ever having “done someone a favor” when all I really did was the job I was being paid to do. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, or out-of-touch, or something.
— Fred Pittman