For Janet: Because I promised her I would.
Dear Members of the United States Congress,
My name is Jane, I'm white, I am a U.S. citizen, and I live and work - for a 501(c)(3) charity - in the state of Colorado.
Who I am specifically is of no consequence. I have no illusions that you care anything for me. If we met in person and it wasn't a photo or sound bite opportunity, I suspect, you wouldn't greet me with a smile or really acknowledge me at all. That's OK. I understand the delicate intricacies those of you who are rich and/or powerful must adhere to when interacting with the help.
And make no mistake...I am the help.
Most of my family and friends - as well as the vast majority of this country - are just the help too.
You know who we are or, at the very least, you know our collective faces. Every few years, you descend into our masses, riding in your pimped out buses through middle America, stopping to shake our hands, kiss our babies, and promise each of us the moon in exchange for the one thing we can give you that you can't (I still say with a fading glimmer of hope) buy.
The votes you need to land a cush government job - one with a salary - a salary many of you don't even need - few of us can ever hope to aspire to; an automatic, annual, cost of living increase which, most of the rest of us, haven't received in the last decade or more; one with a pension; and one with the crème de la crème of benefits...affordable health care and paid leave and special perks. You are wooed by lobbyists, star on television (albeit mostly on C-SPAN), and get invited to all the best cocktail parties (wearing couture dresses, drinking top shelf booze, and feasting on fancy canapés).
Do you know what that actually means?
We, the help, put you in your position of power. We did so with the confidence that you would do what we, the help, intended for you to do...serve us. Represent us. Speak for us. Make sound decisions for us. We delegated the basics to you because we don't have time to fuss with the details. We're too busy literally greasing all the various wheels that make our country function.
That means, in essence, we, the help, are the ones in a position of power. We are your hiring manager. You, in fact, are, or were intended by the founding fathers to be, the help.
You are really Really REALLY REALLY not helping.
None of you.
Somehow, somewhere along the lines, you've come to believe we, your bosses, are no more than some hypothetical, pushover pussies that don't actually matter. That what you do, as long as it doesn't impact you directly, is inconsequential and can't possibly touch you. You've relegated us to the role of the invisible help who doesn't deserve your attention unless we've done something to fuck with your day and must be punished.
But "let me be clear": we do matter.
In the last several weeks, I've listened to political analysts - on every side - describe this government shut down as "an epic game of chicken". I've heard unintentionally recorded conversations where some of you - from every side - have stated, "We're WINNING!". I've been told this shut down would only be effective - for every side - if it lasted long enough to hurt us - the American people who elected you to serve US.
Guess what? We hurt.
All of us...even you - maybe especially you.
Individually, we might not yet feel it. Individually, we may not have been furloughed or know someone who has been furloughed. We may not have tried to travel around our country to explore various historical sites and been denied access to a national park, monument, zoo, museum. We may not depend on disability benefits or WIC to feed ourselves and our children. We may not be trying, in government shut down vain, to buy our first (or second, or third) dream house. We may already have access to affordable health care, because our employers care, and couldn't give a shit less if anyone else does. We may not all give a rats if that everyday Joe is eligible to work in the United States - the one whose eligibility must be verified, via a website that is no longer accessible, within the first 3 days of employment because you said so.
Still...whether we or you know it or not...every single one of us hurts from this game you are playing.
Sometimes the onset of feeling pain is slow.
And that is something you should be aware of...sometimes the onset of pain is slow.
You may not feel it now. You may not yet see the stain of human blood on your hands. You may not know that your games now will eventually equal pain, for you, later, but! There will be pain...
At, the bare minimum, the polls.
You are representing me and those like me who told you, with our votes, to represent us. We gave you that salary, that COLA increase, those benefits, those perks as incentives to do a job well done on our behalf.
Do you remember what your momma said when you were being especially naughty? "Child! I brought you into this world. I can take. You. Out."
And, if you remember that, you might also remember that if Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.
Right now, Momma really Really REALLY ain't happy. If you've talked to your momma recently, you'll know this and still feel the sting from her slap upside the head.
You're doing a crappy job. You have a 5% approval rating. Cockroaches and hemorrhoids, right now, are doing a better job of satisfying their constituents than you are. And dude? I've had both cockroaches in my house and hemorrhoids up my ass - neither of which is pleasant or desirable - so that's seriously saying something.
If the members of Congress were subject to an at-will employer, you'd be hosed. For real.
So, you know, get your shit together.
Stop believing this is a game. The lives, the welfare, the health, the double-iced-espresso-mochas of the American public isn't all fun and games until someone loses an eye.
Your job and your success isn't dependent on how many 1-ups you collect from your colleagues or how many virtual dungeon bosses you defeat.
THIS IS NOT A GAME!
Your job and your success depends on me...
Don't believe me?
I'll see you at the polls.
Sincerely fuck you,