2, 2002—Ground Zero Plus
Congressional Mail Laundry Quandary
Whose Lives Are More Important...
Politicians Or Parents & Children?
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City, July 2--I get irritated when the few
cherish their lives more than many. That's happening in our U.S.
Where I come from, a real leader is one who
is willing to risk his or her life on an equal basis with the troops
fighting the battle, and seeks no special protection.
Winston Churchill, as a young warrior, rode
a white horse into battle, daring the enemy to shoot him. He could
have ridden a bland colored horse and camouflaged himself among many
others, but he chose the white stallion to broadcast his fearlessness and
set a standard of Courage, Conviction and Right Action for all the other
British warriors to follow.
As a leader of women's rights
to achieve anything in a world dominated by men's accomplishments, Amelia
Erhart offered her life in a historic flight around the world.
Heroic leadership invites
But I fear our United States Congress
is more interested in its own safety than in providing courageous
leadership to the millions of parents and children of America.
The irradation of U.S. Congress mail
to neutralize potential anthrax is one example. While the rest
of the country opens its mail without such obsequious protection, all mail
directed to Congress stops off at a site in New Jersey to undergo a
"cleansing process." The mail is exposed to an electron beam
that renders any anthrax harmless and then after it is "sanitized," it is
shipped to Washington D.C. I can't help but wonder if the June 30th
postage increase of 3 cents for a first class letter is helping to cover a
miniscule portion of the obvious increase in costs.
However, the sterilization of
Congressional mail is creating a raft of illnesses for those handling it.
The Office of Compliance, responsible for Congressional workplace safety,
reports that 200 complaints have been filed by workers handling the
Congress is allegedly the "Voice of
the people." Supposedly, its members represent the "best" of the
people who elected them. However, this current example of
"overprotection" of our representatives is one more illustration of how
politics rather than purpose drives our House of Representatives.
Back in October, Congress ran from
the building when there was an anthrax scare. I was upset then
when not one single representative protested the "act of cowardice."
The Senate continued to work while Congress shut down, more worried about
their safety than setting an example for the public--especially the
When leaders of a society claim
their safety is more important than the average citizens, a wall of
separation is built. Its mortar is composed of selfishness,
and the bricks are made from self-seeking material. Thus, the wall
stands out like a sore thumb, a symbol of the elevation rather than
equality of leadership.
The idea the U.S. Congress has its
mail "laundered" while the people run daily risks without such protection
seems to me another form of "Terrorism." It means Congress
would protect its self first, and the public second. This is
the opposite of what a Representative of the People, in my book, should be
This self importance and accumulation
of personal power over the people has been growing for decades.
Part of the problem is the
"invisibility" between Congressional Representatives and the people.
In our original
Constitution the formula for U.S. Representatives was one per 30,000.
This number was arrived at by our founding fathers to allow a
Representative time over a year to communicate with his or her
constituents, allowing the Representative time to gather face-to-face
information necessary for sound decisions to be made in the voters'
Times have changed. Today, we have
435 representatives serving 280 million people. Far from the
1:30,000 population ratio, we now elect Representatives at the pace of
1:643,678, twenty times the original ratio. If our Representatives
seem distant and unconcerned, it is because they are 20 times harder to
reach than what our original Constitution calls for.
Convenience has given rise to
Complacency. To adequately meet the Constitution's original
formula of one representative per 30,000 would mean we would have 9,333
Congresspeople rather than 435. Obviously, to get that many
people to agree on something would be difficult, and fewer laws would be
But that would be good, not bad, for
America. We are buried in laws--so many in fact that one could spend
a lifetime sifting through them and still not know what they all meant.
As power is held by the fewer, the
Voice of the many gets muffled. The result is a sense of
"elitism." It creates within the "few" an over righteousness of
their importance as the expense of the people they represent.
The irradation of Congressional mail
is one small, meager example. But to me, it is symptomatic of
putting the welfare of leadership before the welfare of the people who
I would expect at least one
Congressperson to rail against the idea of having their mail irradated and
the public's left unguarded, insanities. If the members of
Congress believe their health and security are more important than that of
the families they represent, then they've got their head screwed on
And, so do we, the citizens, who
Complacently allow special privileges for those we never see, who never
come knocking on our door and ask how we are, who walk around with body
guards and wax endless rhetoric about their "duty to the people."
As a Citizen of Vigilance, a Parent
of Vigilance, and a Grandparent of Vigilance, I deeply resent Congress
protecting itself at the expense of protecting my children and
grandchildren. How much ever the funding for irradiating
Congressional mail, it is a wasteful, unfair, unjust and selfish expense.
It promotes division and
righteousness rather than community and equality.
So what is the solution?
Frankly, I'm an advocate of returning
back to the basics. I'd like to see one representative per 30,000
brought back. I'd like to see Congress so unwieldy that it
could not pass a law unless such a law was truly in the nation's interest,
and not driven by pork bellied goals stuffed into Bills by fat-cat
politicians who never get off their rumps and knock on a neighbor's door
to see what life in the "big city" is all about.
Terrorism is about dominating others.
It is about injecting Fear, Intimidation and Complacency in whomever it
Americans today feel impotent about
their leadership communication. The idea that any single
citizen can walk into his or her Representative's office and sit down and
chat has long been lost in the modern formula of 1:643,678.
There aren't enough ears to go around to hear all the concerns of the
Congressional leaders, eager to protect
their limited seat of power, will tell people to "write them a letter."
Everyone especially now knows its members are afraid to open them, so what
good is that.
The result is political Terrorism--the
public's Fear and Intimidation that they cannot communicate with their
appointed Representatives. Once that takes root, Complacency
rules. "What good is my Voice?"
I believe all Parents and Citizens of
Vigilance should let Congress know this policy of cleansing the mail does
more than contaminate the workers who handle it. It contaminates the
principle of representation by elevated those who serve us into "king" and
I would suggest we all write
our Congressperson and express our disgust for such a policy.
However, under the current system, the mail would probably never reach its
destination--it would be far too contaminated.
To July 1--Terror of the Creep Factor
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