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Michael Connor, Published October 16 2013

Letter: Both parties have shown shameful behavior in crisis

For shame, for shame. What have our legislative and executive branches come to? Recently it was trying to keep out veterans of World War II who were participating in an “Honor Flight” to see the memorial dedicated in their honor at our nation’s capital, then on the national news, the ultimate step into the depths of political scum, denying death benefits to service men and women who gave their lives fighting a war that has dragged on now for 12 years. Shame on you, President Barack Obama, senators and representatives, and there is more than enough shame to go around equally to Democrats and Republicans.

It is shameful that all both parties can do at this time is point fingers at each other, twit and tweet and line up to be on TV “news” shows while failing to do the job they were elected to do. It is shameful that a small group of legislators (less than 50) can dictate to a House of Representatives that has 435 voting members and a Senate that has 100 voting members. I have always prided myself on voting for the individual, not the party, and have always been proud of those elected to represent North Dakota. As things now stand, all of those currently serving in Congress should be turned out on their ear, be stripped of any retirement benefits and prohibited from accepting any position (paid or not) within 500 miles of the District of Columbia.

Our elected officials should stay in Washington and do their job, don’t come trotting home to their home state to have “meetings” to find out what they should be doing. Let’s have less Twitter and more action. Do the job you were elected to do and work at it 52 weeks out of the year. There is no need to take an August recess as the federal buildings in Washington are now all air conditioned. (History explains the August recess was created when D.C. was originally mostly a tidal basin and almost uninhabitable during the hot summer months.)

For the record, the House was in session 112 days both in 2011 and 2012, the same for the Senate. The average taxpayer, who pays the tab, on the other hand does not get an August break. Congress in their infinite wisdom has made this “vacation” a law and is expected to work 260 days a year (assuming 40-hour week or 2,080 hours a year).

Enough. Our legislative and executive branches need to act like adults, learn to work together for the good of all, stop running for re-election the day after they are first elected and finally, most of all, honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Connor lives in rural Starkweather, N.D.