When elected officials decide to retire, they usually participate in exit interviews. It’s basically their time to bitch about the things they don’t like about their job, just like an exit interview when you leave any job. But the difference is that Congress is full of elected officials who have one job: represent their constituents. This is not a time for them to complain about the long hours. This is not the time to complain about the bad benefits. This is a time for them to blame everyone but themselves for the problem. Congressman Gary Ackerman complained about the same things that the last few retirees complained about: lack of honest discourse. “It used to be you had real friends on the other side of the aisle. It’s not like that anymore. Society has changed. The public is to blame as well. I think the people have gotten dumber. I don’t know that I would’ve said that out loud pre-my announcement that I was going to be leaving. [Laughter] But I think that’s true. I mean everything has changed. The media has changed. We now give broadcast licenses to philosophies instead of people. People get confused and think there is no difference between news and entertainment. People who project themselves as journalists on television don’t know the first thing about journalism. They are just there stirring up a hockey game,” – retiring Congressman Gary Ackerman
This is easily true. But to blame the people is dishonest. The discourse has gotten dumber. Politicians and the media have decided there are two sides that lead to winners and losers, like they are watching a baseball game. But this game matters. They let these “philosophies” take over.
I work with Republicans, I have friends who are Republicans. I am not a Republican. I bet that if you put normal people together in a room, we couldn’t solve all the problems, but we’d at least have the honest discussion. We would be willing to compromise because there wasn’t big fundraising dollars at the end of the rainbow. There weren’t lobbying jobs or seats on some sort of board. There would just be a solution.
Americans have always wanted only one thing. A solution. If there is a problem, we want an answer. We don’t want steadfastness. We don’t want philosophy. We want a job. We want less taxes. We want a system that actually works. We want less corruption. We want…
But we don’t get anything outside of promises. So, if congress honesty thinks that we are dumber than before or that they can pass the buck, they are wrong. I have lots of friends who would be “sitting across the aisle” because we don’t see it as an aisle. They are my neighbors, my friends, my family, and the people I trust. I don’t trust Congress.