2010-08-05 / Sam Bari

Imagine a life in the U.S. Congress

You can’t beat a system you can’t understand
By Sam Bari

Try to imagine going to work every day and spending most of your time fighting with your colleagues.

When you aren’t doing that, you are in your office reading hundreds of hate mail letters and thousands of e-mails with nothing but complaints – all of which are directed at you.

Then you pick up a morning newspaper and see your face splashed all over the front page, with headlines decrying your very existence.

You get a brief respite from the media onslaught when you attend a meeting where you stand before a board. Here, you field questions from the people who hired you.

They want to know why you are not doing your job. They say that your performance record is the worst in the history of your position.

You tell them that you are doing what you think is right, and they tell you that is not why you were hired. You were hired to do as you were told, they say. So you pacify them by saying that you will do everything you can to make sure their concerns are put to rest.

Then, instead of keeping your word, you decide that it would be in your best interests to satisfy the needs of the people who control the purse strings. Why? Because they control your destiny. Although they are a mere handful, they are the ones that count.

So you defy the chronic complainers and do what you want, with a beatific smile on your face and a spring in your step.

Although the people who do the day-to-day work that pays your salary blame you because they aren’t making enough money to make ends meet, you don’t care. You can always blame your colleagues for their dilemma.

“It’s not my fault,” you say. “I’m just one person.” You know that is the lamest, most meaningless and senseless statement anyone could ever make. It is an insult to their intelligence.

But you don’t care.

They can’t do anything about what you do. You have your job. You have a contract, and you’re going to do whatever you want.

You love your job so much that you tell the complainers to come and talk to you whenever they feel the need. You are so bold that you actually ask them for their input to help you do your job better.

Of course, you don’t mean anything you say. You just invite them in to complain and let everything they say fall on deaf ears. You smile and tell them to come back any time.

You let them know that you are a vibrant and vital member of the management team that is working hard on their behalf.

I would think that the above person was not only a possible liar and a cheat, but also somewhat of a masochist. He or she just keeps coming back for more abuse, and appears to love it.

That is insane. A person who would do such things is in need of serious couch time with a very experienced and expensive shrink.

First, you have to wonder, what kind of a person would ever want such a horrible job. Anyone taking such a position must be a little sick in the head.

Then, you have to further wonder why they would go to such extremes to make certain that everybody they work for or with continues to hate them, and with an intensity that would make most people fear for their lives.

The sad thing is, you see these people every day. You read about them, listen to them, write letters to them and give them their jobs.

They are the members of Congress. They get enough people to vote them into office by making promises that they can’t – or won’t – keep.

As soon as their names are stenciled on their office doors, they go about the task of satisfying personal agendas – and less than 30% of the people who got them their jobs.

Why are they there? They are blamed for a failing economy, an irreparable immigration system, a broken-down healthcare system and a fast-declining educational program.

Who needs that?

Although they were hired to do so, the last thing they do is represent the desires of their constituents.

And they work for a country that incarcerates more people than any other nation on the planet, yet claims to be the “land of the free.”

Welcome to life in a system you can’t understand.

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