They Said It Better Than I Ever Could...

These words that I write, they keep me from total insanity. -Charles Bukowski

Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived, or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed? -Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Oct 10, 2013

An Open Letter To Congress...

I am an excepted employee.

I just finished up day 10 of working for IOU’s.

I am an excepted employee. Meaning regardless of the shutdown I’m required to work.

The cable bill is due, the phone bill, the water bill, the gas bill, the car note, and not long after all of that comes the mortgage for my simple house in the suburbs.

Mr. or Mrs. Congressperson, your money comes from a separate pool of funds. This is convenient for you, but a few of you decided to donate your salaries to charity or not take them till the shutdown was over. Sorry, empty gesture. You’re mostly rich anyway, your congressional salaries probably aren’t your primary source of income, I’m sure you can wrangle a loan or two from your boys down on K street.

Let me tell you a bit about who an excepted employee is.

He works every day. He doesn’t get paid until congress decides he does.

He’s a guy who works in a federal prison, as a correctional officer, keeping society’s best and brightest away from all you respectable people out there.

He’s a guy who goes to the VA once a week to talk through the nightmares that won’t let him sleep more than three hours at a stretch, and for that the VA judged him disabled so they are nice enough to send him a check once a month for his troubles, but only if you allow it.

He’s a guy who spent 14 years in the US Army, and would really like to get his GI Bill payment come the end of the month.

Unfortunately for this guy, his entire income is derived from the US government. I dare anyone to claim he didn’t earn every penny.

He dares any member of congress to do the things he does, or do the things he has done for this country.

He was shot at, blown up, rocketed, mortared, slept in a hole, didn’t shower for days at a time, and a million other smaller indignities that aren’t worth mentioning.

He came home from fighting for his country and got a job working in a prison, containing the people who broke the laws that you made. This job has shown him the depths of evil. It has beaten him, its punched him, kicked him, it’s made him work while tear gas hangs heavy in the air, and he’s been spit on, berated, and subjected to every form of abuse under the sun. All for less than a quarter of what you make while you come up with new laws to fill those prisons from overflowing to bursting at the seams.

Many of these things he has done for the country that he swore to defend before he could legally buy a beer. He has done these things willingly and gladly. Any day spent serving this nation, whether in the uniform of a soldier or a correctional officer is a day well spent as far as he’s concerned.

But his next check isn't going to come. Well, only half of it is coming. Then after that no one knows when the next one will come. You shut down the government, but the world keeps on turning. The bills will come due, whether the government is open or not.

He’s heard people call him, an “overpaid government employee”. He wonders what a congressperson or civilian would expect to be paid for the things that he’s done and seen.

He’s even heard congress people say that they stand with federal employees…to which he can only say, "Yeah, you’re here with us, except you’re getting paid, your lives aren't disrupted, you don’t have to wonder how you’re going to make the mortgage, how you’re going to feed your kids, how you’re going to keep the heat on this winter, how you’re going to buy Christmas presents." He’s sure you've got mortgages, and kids in college and bills to pay too, but he wonders how you can justify paying yourselves when a continuation of this means he has to sell his house?

All except for that, you’re here with us.

I guess that’s what “excepted” means.

It means that you’re the excepted employee, because no one is getting paid, EXCEPT YOU.

You are the excepted employee.


  1. Slavery was outlawed in the US in the 1960's.

  2. Congress should read this on the House floor.

    1. Thanks. Believe it or not, that means a lot.

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