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An Open Letter to Senator John McCain

by Jason Lightner September 6th, 2013 | Independent Ideas
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mccain usaBy now you’ve most likely heard about Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and his blunder at the Syria hearing. For those who aren’t aware, I’ll sum it up quickly: Instead of paying attention, or at least trying to pay attention, Senator John McCain was on his iPhone, playing a game of poker.

The act was noticed by Washington Post reporter Melina Mara and was confirmed with photographic proof. As if the act of an elected official goofing off during a hearing on military action weren’t appalling enough, Senator McCain was unapologetic after the fact, as demonstrated by a tweet he sent out shortly thereafter.

“Scandal! Caught playing iPhone game at 3+ hour Senate hearing — worst of all I lost!”

Here’s the thing, John — No sane person cares if you’re there for 3+ hours, or twenty minutes, or a week; you do your job, you pay attention, and you don’t screw around. This has to do with several things that are of great consequence to people who aren’t as wealthy or as privileged as you, Senator, and I can only hope that this was an isolated incident and that you do not behave in such a careless manner in other meetings. People’s lives are at stake, American tax dollars are at stake, and here you are; eyes glazed over, your mind probably already made up about the Syria conflict, and all you are required to do in your job as Senator is pay attention, and you can’t even accomplish that. What made you think for a second you were fit to be President, for Christ’s sake?

Let’s assume for the moment, John, that you’re still making around $161,675 per year as Senator, a rate imposed on yourself as reportedly you haven’t accepted the salary increases the Senate has been voting for since 1996 (source: Answers.com). As a man worth more than $21 million, I suppose you’re just being kind, but I digress. Let’s also assume you work a normal 40-hour week. You don’t, and you get way more vacation time than the average American, but once again I digress. If you work a normal 40-hour work week, that puts your hourly rate at $77.73 per hour. Just for comparison’s sake, the average American is making $23.90 per hour (source: YCharts).

Now, let’s say this Syria hearing lasted a little over 3 hours. In that time, you made $233.19 — quite a bit of taxpayer money being paid for you to just sit and listen, isn’t it? But you weren’t sitting and listening, you were playing video poker on your cell phone. Do you even know what happens to people like me when we goof off when we’re supposed to be working? At the very least, we get a stern talking to. The most unfortunate of us — the ones making $7.25 per hour as part of the minimum wage you can’t seem to make up your mind about (source: OnTheIssues) — tend to lose their jobs as they’re typically viewed as the most replaceable.

Not you, Senator. You’re not replaceable. For some reason, the American people just can’t seem to fire you or any of our other elected officials, even after continually demonstrating utter contempt for the American people. Rich, arrogant, career politicians like yourself continue to make a mockery of what is supposed to be an effective system of government.

So the next time you’re in a meeting concerning people’s lives, taxpayer dollars or, you know, anything official, do like you’re told to in a movie theatre: power off your phone and freakin’ pay attention. Who knows, Senator? Even a guy like yourself, with so much experience, still might learn something.

(U.S. Army photo)

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