Federal Employees News Digest

No need to stress, politicians are ‘fighting’ for you

I don’t mean to get personal, but when is the last time you had a real fight?

That’s a tough one, because the answer depends on so many things, including your temperament and where you grew up.  Your definition of a real fight may vary with your age, gender, religion, economic situation, where you went to school and possibly whether you had brothers.  It can be tricky. 

A dictionary definition of fighting is

(noun): the action of fighting; violence or conflict.

(adjective): displaying or engaging in violence, combat or aggression.

Is that what first popped into your head -- a couple guys duking it out? Or something else?  Probably for lots of us, something else came to mind. 

Take Washington, D.C.  (Please!) Most of us here in the nation’s capital -- called the political epicenter of the nation, inside the beltway or the swamp, if that’s your thing -- may have a different take. 

Our definition of a real fight might not jibe with what you call it in Seattle, Detroit or Yazoo City, Miss.  We, at least some of us, fight a lot more than you do. We’re tough as nails (maybe toe-nails) and we fight harder and with more conviction.

I realized this recently when I ran into a former U.S. senator from the far West who decided to stay inside the beltway after he retired.  I was in the Army Reserves with his administrative assistant and later, when I was a reporter, covered one of the committees he chaired for several years.  We weren’t buddies, but he was a nice guy,  which most politicians are -- otherwise they wouldn’t get elected. (Of course there are many exceptions, but they are often good actors who can win us over -- or maybe just less objectionable than their opponents.)

The subject of fighting came up because we were sitting outside -- six feet apart -- a Starbucks in Potomac, Md.  Somebody had a radio on, and a politician was talking about how he was fighting for this, fighting for that.  I swear the heat of his passion melted my Frappuccino. 

The senator, quite a bit older than me, said he was reminded of when Warren Rudman (R-N.H.) and Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) served in the Senate.  Though on different sides of the aisle, the two had much in common. Both were fighters, tough guys in the best way possible.  Kerrey, a Navy SEAL, had lost his leg in combat in Vietnam.  Rudman, a company commander in the Korean War, had seen combat of the blood-sweat-tears variety that most of us can't even imagine.  (I was once almost crushed by a crate of Spam at Ft. McClellan, Ala., but that’s for another time). 

Anyhow, the former senator confirmed what a reporter friend had once told me: Rudman and Kerrey would sit across the aisle from each other, amused as their pot-bellied compatriots talked about fighting for this or fighting against that.  He once said that Rudman commented that one such self-described “fighter” actually couldn’t fight his way “out of a wet paper bag with a meat cleaver.” Or words to that effect. 

To research this idea, I listened to the news carefully over the weekend, listening for politicians who said they were fighting for me (though I never asked them too) over one issue or another.  Two of them, New Yorkers (one Republican, one Democratic) engaged in several fights -- on our behalf -- that were bold,  fierce and all talk. 

Some pols are fighting for our right NOT to wear masks to protect others while others are fighting to remind us we have a duty to help halt the spread of the pandemic.  Others are fighting for a variety of things they say we want but can’t get without their muscle and clout. Two even said they were fighting and would continue to fight for a 3.6% federal pay raise next January.  That was right after a news report said 42 million people were out of work.  But not to worry, Washington’s politicians are fighting for them too.

If you’re worried or have been stressed out lately, you can relax.  We here in Washington are fighting for you tirelessly, 24/7.  It’s exhausting, sometimes dangerous work. Just keep voting for us so we can stay here and fight for you. 

Or else.

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