With a Congress Like This, Who Needs Enemies?

An open letter to our (dangerous) legislative branch

Dear Congress,

Two nights ago, you stood en masse and sang “God Bless America” in remembrance of the same Congressional chorus from a decade ago. Back then, of course, it was right after 9/11 tore our hearts into pieces, made us fearful of the future, and had us questioning everything we thought we knew. It helped a little, back then. It was reassuring. Movingly unified.

I’m sorry that I can’t say the same for this year’s rendition. In fact, I’m calling b.s. on you.

Think about this, Congress: With your 10 percent approval rating, and our stock prices dropping like lead balloons every time you argue about money (which is often), and that general feeling of fear and anger radiating from all the people who voted you into your job … well, just who do you think it is making us truly fearful of our future these days?

Look, I know it’s not all of you—I know some of you are good, and thoughtful, and trying. But from where we sit, you are one body. One failing, flailing body that appears to be mocking we, the people, who gave you your job. After all, you set up camp in your marble corridors, with your excellent, life-long health care and your pensions and your fancy gyms and your long recesses and then you proceed to bask in your self-indulgent, self-righteous bickering and in-fighting and power struggles and talk of elections (your elections! While we, down here, wither on the vine!), while our livelihoods and lives and faith in our country and its ideals all hang in the balance.

Our Founders would weep.

Do you think we care if you get reelected? (We do not.) Do you think we care if you don’t like the President? (We do not.) Do you think we care what lobbyists you’re pals with, and which donors you’ve made promises to? (We do not.) We just want a plan. Action. Doing something. Seeing if that something works.

Because I can tell you this: The vast majority of us are tired of your fighting, your grandstanding, your standing up for ideals that just so happen to suit you (and not us). If you don’t give the one proactive, spelled-out plan for fixing things that we’ve heard thus far a real shot—yes, I’m talking about the American Jobs Act, you got something better? No?—then there are going to be people like me who will suddenly care a lot if you get reelected. (In that we won’t let you.)

And so consider this a final plea to you, while you are still in the position to serve your country: We need your real-life patriotism, not your empty words, not your rote soundbites, not your fake nod to unity. We need you to remind us that love of country and the ideal of selfless service still can overcome the greed and pettiness that your taste of power has wrought on us all. We need you to be your best selves, not to help our enemies by spending all your time trying to stymie leader of the Free World, and our faith in this country’s system along with him, just because you wanna.

We need you to start acting like you’re actually on our country’s side. Not just your own.

God Bless America.