Dec. 18, 2006: Dear Congressman Kingston: We The People Don’t Care About Your Problems

I’m not quite sure what Jack Kingston was trying to achieve, but if it was to give the rest of us a serious case of eye-roll, then mission accomplished.

Kingston is an eight-term Republican congressman from Georgia’s 1st District, an area extending south from Savannah and Brunswick to the Florida border and northwest to Warner Robins. He is also not very happy with his world right now. Kingston has been publicly complaining about the new Democratic majority in the House mandating a five-day workweek, instead of the current three. For one thing, he thinks a five-day week will mean that “marriages suffer.” Oh, please.

He says members of Congress work hard, and for most of them it is a 60-hour, six-day workweek. A lot of that time, Kingston says, is spent back home “listening and learning.” He talked about all the meetings he held in his district and the number of speeches he made. Spending more time in Washington, he says, means “members of Congress are less in touch with those they represent.” He may be right as rain, but, Jack, guess what? We the People really don’t care. That’s your problem. You go work it out with your colleagues in the Congress. You won’t be getting a lot of sympathy from us, because being sympathetic to politicians is like being told to kiss a frog — it ain’t gonna happen.

My daddy used to tell me that there were two things you should never try to convince people of: One, that you feel worse than they do, and, two, that you work harder than they do. The only way Kingston’s comments could have been less well received would have been for him to say that not only is his job harder than yours, but his sinuses hurt a whole lot worse than yours ever did.

The reaction to his pity-poor-me plaints could have been predicted by Sheila the Family Wonderdog. One disgusted reader opined that, “Jack Kingston needed a crane operator to remove his foot from his mouth, but crane operators work long hours and were too offended by his whining to help him out.” Zing!

Another said, “Kingston should ask one of his constituents what they think about his salary, schedule and health-care plan and see if that gets him any sympathy.”

One perceptive reader asked, “If U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston is so concerned about having enough time to spend with his family, then why has he appeared multiple times on ‘Real Time with Bill Maher,’ which is taped on Friday nights in California?” An excellent question, to which I would add — Of what benefit is it to his constituents that he hobnob with a liberal weenie like Bill Maher, who referred to the 9-11 terrorists as “heroes”? He’d be a lot better off if he associated with common folks like Jeff Foxworthy and Ron “Tater Salad” White or even Larry the Cable Guy. Then we might be more sympathetic to his long workweek.

Jack Kingston was not marched to Washington at the point of a gun and forced to be a congressman. He went up there of his own free will and because the voters of the 1st District sent him there to represent them to the best of his ability — regardless of the circumstances. If he feels that the job is too hard, then quit and go make a bundle as a lobbyist or learn to operate a crane.

I know most of the members of the Georgia delegation personally — Republican and Democrat — and they are decent people trying to do a good job for us and under the same conditions as Kingston. His complaining doesn’t help them either. We can all name a bunch of people who make a lot less money, have a lot fewer perks and a crummier retirement plan than members of Congress.

So, Jack, suck it up, and let’s hear no more whining from you. Besides, things could be worse. You could be writing a column week after week, trying to deal with pesky editors telling me where I should stick my commas — and with a gimpy knee to boot. Now, that’s a real problem!