Editor’s Note: This Letter to the Editor was printed by The Stamford Advocate newspaper on 12/6/94. It was in response to the euphoria being felt by conservatives (of which I am not one) after the Congressional landslide of that year. Most right-wingers seemed to think the ascendancy of Newt and his buddies signaled the dawn of a new age of enlightenment and would bring an end to the role of big government in our lives. Judge for yourself how true that has been. I believe that this type of writing is called a reductio ad absurdum — taking a premise to its logical and absurd conclusion. The premise also pissed off my mother, a recently born-again Christian who, at the time, believed God is a Republican and Bill Clinton either worshiped or was Satan.
Now that the 1994 election is over, and the people have spoken, the pundits have told us what it all means. We Americans have opted for less government and taken the opportunity to throw “the bums” — in this case, the Democrats — out. They can’t come close to balancing the budget or even run their own little post office, so why should we let them run our health care system? We’ve decided that government can’t do anything right, so it should do little if anything at all.
With this in mind, I think it’s not to early to declare myself a candidate for Congress in 1996. (If Phil Gramm and Arlen Specter can start running for president now, why not?) Having determined the pulse of the electorate, my platform will be simple. Since the vast majority of voters cast their ballots for neither the Republicans nor the Democrats, but showed their disdain for both by avoiding the polls entirely, my campaign theme will be: “If elected, I will not serve.”
I pledge not to waste the taxpayers’ money hiring staff, renting office space, traveling back and forth to Washington, taking fact-finding junkets to Tahiti or using my Congressional franking privileges to deluge my constituents with tales of my good deeds on their behalf. The latter activity will be totally unnecessary, since, in keeping with their wishes, I will be doing absolutely nothing for my constituents. I plan not to go to Washington, but to stay home in Stamford, where I can do far less harm to the nation than my colleagues in the Capitol.
I will not be voting on any bills. I pledge to abstain on all legislation, providing it can be done from by phone from the Barcolounger in my living room. Nor will I be introducing any new legislation. Congress has been meeting and passing bills for 200 years; shouldn’t they be done by now? I think we have enough laws already. If we really believe in limiting government, let’s leave it the way it is. Do we really need the dozens and dozens of Constitutional amendments the Contract With America is promising us on everything from school prayer to the canonization of Ronald Reagan. I think if all my congressional colleagues would just stay home, we’d all be better off.
I will also respect the voters’ desire for term limits by not running for reelection or doing any fundraising for that purpose. And since I won’t be doing much of anything during my term anyway, I see no reason for the government to refill my seat once I’m done with it — more savings for the taxpayers. The only part of my job I plan to perform is cashing my paycheck (hey, I’m a patriot, not an idiot); however, I will not be voting myself any pay raises. I ought to be able to make do on my congressional salary, since, in the tradition of the citizen politician, I plan to keep my day job.
So, please start sending me money so I can get my campaign off the ground. And will somebody please tell me what district I’m in.
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