I wrote this some time ago and thought I had published it. As the former Senator from Pennsylvania recently passed away and I never had published it, I am now.
Several lifetimes ago, I worked for Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). One thing young staffers get to do is deal with constituents — in person, on the phone and through their always well thought out and researched correspondence. I firmly believe if our founding fathers were to travel in time to now and judged us solely on the people who visit and call their Congressional representatives, we would have a vastly different form of government.
One evening, a very peculiar woman came in. She was convinced that anyone born in California (or Hawaii) could vote in France. She also thought I was 45 years old. I am not even that old now — several lifetimes later — so you can appreciate how well that went over with me. She wasn’t too scary but she liked mu boss and made that clear. What she said on her way out was how much she hated Senator Specter and she was going to give him a piece of her mind (Is it snarky of me to note that this was more than she could afford to give?).
One idea that I cling to, even when I am not sure why, is that people who get involved in politics do so because they care about the country. In that respect, Hill staffers have several things in common; a strong work ethic, long hours, low pay, a hatred of all things related to the Close Up foundation. So, when this woman, made that comment, I called Senator Specter’s office immediately (he was a Republican then.)
Me: Hi this is Alyson from Senator Feinstein’s office. A really freaky woman was just in here and she is headed your way. Just wanted to let you know.
Specter staffer: You do know our senator is a Republican, right?
Me: That doesn’t matter right now. Crazy person, coming to your office any minute.
They took my advice seriously and locked their front door — it was around 6:00 pm so that made some sense. The woman in question shook the glass doors so much that they called the Capitol police.
The next morning, I received 15 pounds of Hershey chocolate of several flavors. The note read; Thanks for yesterday, we would not have done the same for you. WTF? You wouldn’t? Really? REALLY? Guess not.
We need to treat each other better.