THE VigilanceVoice

July 2, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 293

Congressional Mail Laundry Quandary
Whose Lives Are More Important...
Politicians Or Parents & Children?
Cliff McKenzie
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. Congress.
       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.

Churchill as Second Lieutenant

      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 consequences.
        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 irradated mail. 
        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 children.

        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 noted for.
        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' behalf.
       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 passed.
        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 elected them.
        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 backwards.
        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 touches.
        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 public.
       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 "queen" status.

        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.

Go To July 1--Terror of the Creep Factor

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