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​Political infighting: Who are they working for?

Editorial | February 15th, 2024

By Sabrina Hornung

sabrina@hpr1.com

When one googles “What traits are desirable in a new employee,” some of the first words that pop up “from sources around the web” include “communication,” “team player,” “leadership,” “honest,” “reliable.” Now take these words and think: How do these words best apply to my preferred candidate on a local, state, and national level?

That’s our role as voters. We elect these candidates so they can represent us and to make informed decisions that benefit the greater good of our country.

Our elected officials are *supposed to be working for us, but what are they really doing to hold that position and our trust? As taxpayers, we’re paying for their service, but shouldn’t they have more to show for themselves?

The real irony is, with all of this “nobody-wants-to-work-anymore” finger-pointing jargon, it’s being directed at the wrong parties. Leave the minimum wage employees out of this, they suffer enough abuse. I mean, the folks who no longer want to work in fast food aren’t tabling major decisions that affect our very way of life…

Because it’s an election cycle and that’s just what happens.

Imagine a room full of people selected to represent each state in the union. Their job is to work together – which sounds idealized, but the definition of “union” according to the Oxford English Dictionary is “the action or fact of joining or being joined, especially in a political context.”

In mentioning political infighting, there are folks who are willing to reach across the aisle. That’s a good thing. That’s what they should be doing.That’s what adults are supposed to do. But there are quite a few who clearly are not working for us. They’re drawing a line in the sand and digging their heels in. They’re pledging allegiance to a party instead of the flag and in the process they’re holding America hostage.

This isn’t leadership or being a team player. They’re not being reliable or adhering to any of those other desirable qualities of an employee that are expected of the working public. We see better behavior in daycare facilities and kindergarten classrooms than in Washington D.C. In fact, the mere comparison is disrespectful to toddlers and kindergarteners everywhere.

Will Rogers said it best when he said, “If pro is the opposite of con, what is the opposite of Congress?”

We, as Americans, deserve better than that.

Maybe the solution lies within an anecdote shared by an old boyfriend's mom. She once told me a story about how he and his brother would fight when they were kids. If she caught them in the act, she had them make a “cooperation cake.” Once they finished working together, they could enjoy the cake together.

Can you imagine? Members of Congress, forced into making and sharing cooperation cakes when they can't get along. There would be so much cake coming from D.C. our hunger problem could be solved!

Though in my mind, what would really happen is it would be a real “Suppe Kaspar” scenario.

The “Suppe Kaspar” i.e. “Soup Kaspar” is an old German cautionary tale about an unruly youth, named Kaspar, who refused to finish his soup, so as punishment he couldn’t leave the table until he finishes it. In a folkloric feat of surefire German stubbornness, poor Kasper sits at the table, withering away, becoming thinner and thinner until he starves to death and turns to dust.

It’s unknown whether it was a cautionary tale directed toward parents or children. So in this situation, would America be at a loss or would Congress?

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