25 January 2007

My Letter to Congress (work in progress)

Honorable Senators and Representatives,

Some time ago I resigned myself to accept a dim immediate future. For some six years now, I have been impressed by how my worst expectations have been exceeded. Time and again, a cadre of "noble patriots" succeeded in bending Congress to accept their machinations. They succeeded in thwarting your oversight by hook, by crook, and by righteous indignation. Your membership was repeatedly bullied, misinformed, or left entirely in the dark. Their misdeeds, when brought to light, were defended with bluster, or laid at the feet of minor characters who, coincidentally, had already departed to take a position elsewhere.

Now comes a season of change. You architects of law, you defenders of America from the iron grip of the Executive Branch, do now enter now upon a vast opportunity of compromise. How else can a body, comprised of ideologically opposed factions, legislate on behalf of a people that are equally disjoint? I implore you, all of you, to conspire together to correct a grievous wrong that has been wrought upon our civil service time and again by multiple administrations.

America's recent disasters had no single cause, but there is one privilege of the Executive Office that has consistently been a contributing factor to all of them.

When it was perceived that a change was needed in CIA leadership, it was the President's prerogative to select someone else. While his choice of steward was a veteran CIA agent, that agent's congressional aides were not. Those underlings, inexplicably raised to positions of authority in CIA, precipitated a greivous loss of talent from the Agency.

Prior to the inundation of the city of New Orleans, a FEMA agent called to alert the FEMA director with news of how critical the situation was. That politically-installed Director's secretary was quick to act; top priority was to get reservations at the best restaurant in town. I should be keen to know how kind FEMA was to that establishment after the shambles.

When NASA scientists brought exciting recent discoveries to light, their exaultations were squelched by the embedded political officer. His job was to "make the President look good". [Kindly forgive my conceit here. I have just remembered that these events have not yet led to a calamity.]

Gentlemen and Great Ladies of Government, I implore you to effect a change. If the president must hand-pick these agency heads, let him do so only from experienced (and current!) personnel within those agencies. Americans deserve to be served by experienced artisans in these positions, not political horse traders. The election of a new president is a serious and momentous occasion and must not be treated as the arrival of Santa Clause; distributing shiny positions of responsibility to all the good little fund raisers. If this change can be made by a new law, then I urge you to pass it. If it requires a Constitutional Amendment, then I beseech you to frame it. Give the stewardship of America's bureaucracy back to those who learned their trade through hard work, rather than usurping the position through cronyism.

In closing, good citizens, I wish you peace, for you and for all America. May she find it soon.