Friday, December 15, 2006

Mad as Hell

This is my latest letter to my Congressman E. Clay Shaw. I tried to be courteous and not let my anger become embedded in my language:

To say that I am upset at the present state of our country is an understatement. I am also very angry that our president and the Republican Congress rule the American people as though we were the great unwashed mass who cannot see through the political rhetoric. A democratic society is based on bipartisan debate. Beginning with Newt Gingrich's "Contract with America" the Republican party has been focused entirely on iron fisted control of our congressional and executive processes. We are now in a hopeless situation in the Middle East. The country is deeply in debt as a result of the President and a subservient Congress leading us unilaterally into war. I believe our servicemen are suffering and dying needlessly in a no win situation. It is time to say we made a mistake and get out. Forget trying to salvage this mess politically. Just say we were wrong and get out. Had we focused those trillions of dollars spent in Iraq on becoming an energy independent nation we would be way ahead of the game. As it is now we can still be held hostage by oil rich countries. Let's change that. America is a creative and innovative nation. Given the right incentives by government we can attain an independence from oil. Bring the troops home to their families. Focus on innovative energy sources. Admit mistakes and change the course of our ship of state.

I retired three years ago from the South Florida Water Management District. While I applaud Governor Bush's leadership during the many hurricanes that impacted Florida I was appalled at the rough shod way his appointees used their chainsaw methods on the staff at that agency.

I had the privilege of being a part of the agency when it held a world wide reputation of excellence. I personally hosted many visitors from other countries who traveled to the USA to see how we did things. Very quickly after taking office the organization came under the scrutiny of Tallahassee. Executive Directors were appointed one after the other and in my personal area of work we had an unbelievable number of directors over a short period of time. I have purged the number from my memory but it was a number that would be jaw dropping considering the short period of time that the leadership in the IT Department changed. Staff was gutted and replaced by contract workers. Morale plummeted while, in typical Republican fashion, the leadership announced proudly that morale was at very high levels. Kind of like the "Mission Acoomplished" speeches we heard all the time from our leadership in Washington.

I have visited the agency several times since my retirement and am reassured that the work of managing the water supply in South Florida goes on at a very professional level. Each time I visited I was saddened to hear of the loss of more long time staff however and observed that morale was definitely decimated by the events of the last few years. I am very proud of my service at the District and can only hope that the organization will return to the point that the employees can speak proudly that they work there and can feel the pride once again of working in a creative environment. The organization has a complex and difficult mission. I believe it will prevail just as our country will once we return to a true bipartisan form of government. The nation has spoken. Let's see how Washington and our own state of Florida respond.

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