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An Open Letter to Congressman Jeff Fortenberry

Clean Sweep Time

by Everett Wilson
October 2, 2013

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An Open Letter to Congressman Jeff Fortenberry

I write this during the first, hopefully the last, day of the government shutdown.

The behavior of Congress in this matter is intolerable, which means it is not to be tolerated. It also means that those who are misbehaving are not to be tolerated.

No incumbent  in this situation deserves re-election, which sadly includes some good people who were not articulate enough or brave enough to block the willful stupidity that now controls the House oRepresentatives. Willfully stupid  describes those congressmen  who are convinced--in defiance of Holy Scripture and the ethical consensus of the western world--that it is now righteous to break your word, renege on your commitments, and default on your debts.  The President would be in the wrong if he were to yield to their unlawful demand to renegotiate legislation with scheduled effective dates already in place.    

Some of these people may not know better.  If that is the case, they aren't qualifed for office.  

Others, like Senator Cruz, have a deserved reputation for knowing better, which definitely disqualifies them.  The Senator deserves censure from the Senate because he knows better.  

Some may hope they will survive if they sit still,  but  it's too late for them to hope for that.

When I first conceived this column a week ago, before the shutdown, I thought the lyrics of Johnny Horton's  "Sink the Bismarck!" was a good analogy.

"Sink the Bismarck" was the battle cry that shook the seven seas.
We found that German battleship was makin?' such a fuss
We had to sink the Bismarck cause the world depends on us.
We hit the decks a-runnin and we spun those guns around
We found the mighty Bismarck and then we cut her down.

In my analogy the Bismarck was Congress as it has allowed itself to become, invincible in its self-serving rules and traditions. Today  a better analogy is not sinking the Bismarck, but abandoning a ship that Congress has got us all to board  because we trusted them--not to agree with us on everything, but at least to do their job. Our rallying cry can' t be as noble as "Sink the Bismarck!"  hollered by the young British sailors who first hit the decks a-runnin  to spin the guns around.  They knew they were likely to die  in the humanly devised hell of a battle at sea. They were outmanned and outgunned. The first ship to attack the Bismarck was sunk, and the  Bismarck ran for home port,; but Churchill called up the full force of the British fleet in pursuit. The Bismarck headed for home port, but   too late. The British found the mighty Bismarck and then they cut her down.

But we're not confronting  an external enemy like the Bismarck. Today we are on a sinking ship!    So I must recall a less noble, but necessary, rallying cry.    I believe it's from "All the Ship's At Sea," by William Lederer.  A young executive officer, cut off from communication with the bridge of his sinking ship, stands at the rail among young sailors milling around  awaiting  orders. So he roars his command in terms they can use: "This is the Exec! I'm abandoning ship! Last one over is a pig's ass!"  

It was crude, but effective. Over the side they went, babbling their rallying cry. "Last one over. . ."! They were not abandoning their country. But if they were going to fight another day, they would have to survive the sea because their  ship could no longer do battle.  
I would never suggest abandoning the country; it's our country. Instead I suggest we abandon the incumbents in congress along with the parties that have enabled and encouraged their incompetence: not a single vote for their nomination or re-election, not a single dollar of contribution to their campaigns.  Trust some new people. We will lose the good people who sadly choose to go down with the ship. We  grieve for them, but we aren't called to die with them.

About the Author:

Everett Wilson has been writing for the Partial Observer since the turn of the century. Recently he has been focused on a novel, Necessary Things. The first part is available on Amazon, in print and as an ebook, entitled "Scoundrels and Fools."


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Real Things
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Published January 2, 2008
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Real Things first appeared in serialized form on the Partial Observer in 2001. It is now available in print for the first time.

Over thirty years after a senseless crash redefined his life, Greg Thompson and his family finally learn why.

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