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Open Letter to All Elected Officials

The state of politics in the United States is unacceptable.  Our elected officials, both parties mind you, are simply not doing the job they were voted to do.  Their job is to protect the United States through common sense and to move it towards the future.  Instead, we have individuals who consistently put their own interests, their party interests, and political action group interests ahead of the common good.  Over the last couple of decades, we have moved from a state where both parties would on average, work towards the common good for the country.  Our history is full of individuals who were considered great, in part because they know how to compromise and would make decisions that may not have been popular, but were the correct decisions that needed to be made.  Not one to bite my tongue in these matters, I need to say something to all elected officials (national, state, and local).

Dear Elected Officials of the Unite States of America

With a very few exceptions, you have failed this country.  To receive ratings approvals consistently below 20%, the people are providing their criticism and opinions of your efforts to make this country great.  These grades for anyone else would result in failing out of school, or being terminated for their job.  Your effort to this country and the history in which it is built on is an embarrassment.

Instead of working towards a common good, I see individuals pandering for sound bites, being re-elected, or simply putting special interests ahead of the country.  While it is true you have been elected to represent a local community, county, state, or region, your primary duty is to the entire country.  What we see are projects that are specifically designed for constituents that may be counter-productive for the country as a whole.  Instead of building a “Bridge to Nowhere”, or simply pushing forward with government contracts that are not helpful (but may provide local jobs to make constituents happy), sometimes difficult decisions need to be made.  Cases such as these may give local economies a boost, but at the expense of the country as a whole.  One case may be insignificant, however, as these mosquito bites spread, the overall damage can be quite costly.  Using an excuse that everyone else is doing it did not work with my parents, and should not work with you, our elected officials. 

The ability to make difficult decisions is a sign of good leadership.  Disagreeing with others, but respecting their opinions enough to work with them is a sign of good leadership.  To be elected into office, but to simply think that your opinion is the only way, without regard to the big picture is being narrow-minded.  This is a weak and selfish behavior and should not be represented in those who are leading our country.  It is your duty as our national leaders to put the good of the people and country ahead of personal gain.  You have been entrusted to perform your duties to the letter of the law, but also entrusted to make the decisions that need to be made.  You should not be holding the country hostage to advance a specific party agenda or to gain favor with special interests groups.  Based on the performance over the last generation, the trust has been misplaced.  Instead of quality debate or compromise, we have seen posturing and politicking designed to pander for the cameras of our 24-hour news coverage society.

People who trade national secrets or actively support national enemies are seen as traitors, and rightfully so.  They are prosecuted according to the law and are sentenced based on the severity of the crime and circumstance.  What about those in political office who willingly put special interests ahead of the good of the country?  Should they be considered traitors?  I think so.  For anyone in office who has taken bribes, given special attention to political action committees, or simply not working with other parties in efforts to cause someone to not be re-elected, you are a traitor to the country.  I think that the embarrassing low approval ratings agree with this sentiment.  It goes beyond party ideology.  Each of you has a mindset of how the country should be run, and having various opinions has helped to make our country a healthy democracy.  Part of your duties as an elected official is to make your case, engage in healthy debates, but compromising is a required part of the job.  While some decisions may not be exactly what you want to push forward with, that is part of democracy.  You may not always get your way, but deal with it.  Your opinions and those of those who elected you are just a part of an overall big picture.  Our country is a melting pot of ethnic groups and traditions, and to expect everyone to think along the same lines is foolhardy and shortsighted. 

Simply put, you are part of a large puzzle.  Each piece is different, but when working together assembles a complete picture.  Everyone who does not work with others makes the big picture unhealthy.  Instead of holding the country hostage in order to pass, or to not pass, a bill, you are required to work for the common good.  You are elected to represent those who voted for you.  However, you are also expected to represent those who did not vote for you, who may not have voted, or simply are living in other parts of the country.  You represent the United States not a specific state or community. 

I like to think that we have bottomed out on the quality and competence of our elected officials.  Lord knows it cannot get much worse.  Stop worrying about getting re-elected or taking care of your supporters, and start working together for the country.  You have been entrusted with running the country, not to act like children who are having a temper tantrum because you did not get your way.  History will be kind to those who focused on making the right decision, even though it was difficult or unpopular.  Those who engage in tactics that are designed to give benefits to their supporters, but at the expense of the greater good will go down as selfish individuals who will be seen in a negative light.

Start doing the job that you were elected to do.  Start working with others, regardless of name, party, or experience.  Stop putting special interests ahead of the greater good.  Do not continue being incompetent and shortsighted.

Finally, don’t make me run for office to show you how to do things!

Thomas Guettler on behalf of all citizens

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