Monday, April 11, 2011

The Power of Words

Last week was an especially heinous work week.

I’m a Federal worker in the Metro DC area, you see, and witnessing the roller-coaster that was the Federal budget process was painful to watch, waiting to hear whether I would be able to go to work and expect a paycheck for the work I do, or find out that I’m….um…non-essential.


The process has been even more painful to listen to…hearing our elected officials twist and wring their words to fit the ideologies of those who they count as the “important people”.

Watching them try REALLY HARD to financially eviscerate social programs by the dozens – while holding as sacred other items that some agencies don’t even want. Reading about and listening to politicians - who profess to be people of faith - snatch away the safety net for many of our Nation’s most needy individuals. Whatever happened to taking care of “the least of these”?

The televisions in the lobbies of our office building have been broadcasting C-Span the past few days, so on our trips to and fro we can keep up on what’s going on. In addition to hearing some truly hateful words, what’s also struck me is the look of unbridled glee (and more than a sprinkling of smirks) upon the faces of some in the House of Representatives when the mention of a shutdown came up. Which was often. And then there were those outside of the Capitol Building, waving signs and flags, salivating at the thought of shuttering the doors of the Evil Empire for a week, maybe, two, maybe more.


“Shut ‘er down. We’ll show those do-nothing, free-loading government employees what-for! They all make too much money, anyway – they need to go out there and get real jobs like the rest of us real Americans…”

Really? Us do-nothing, free-loading tax-paying, doing more-with-less every day for our country, imposing the laws of CONGRESS government employees without real jobs?

And it ain’t over. They’ve gotta meet later this week to finalize what they put off for 6 days – and we may find ourselves in the same situation we were in at 10:00 on Friday night.

Before they go on vacation.

Pile on top of all this, the tenor of public discourse in the past few years. Makes me wanna go somewhere quiet and pull the covers up over my head and stay there.


They have the power of life and death.

Decisions are made on the power of words. People. families, towns, cities, entire nations rise and fall on the power of words. You would think that THIS group of people, elected officials, would remember that fact. And also remember that this Nation’s not only made up of real estate, or corporations, but of people. All of us. Not just a chosen few.

Out of the blue, I got this video from a co-worker this morning.

Heidi – thanx for the message and the reminder – all of us need to remember the power of the words we use – be they written or spoken, read or heard. We have to be so very careful with how we use them. We can change lives. We can also destroy them.