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The Senator

Now he’s done with mouth-flapping election lies and
has settled into his suburban D.C. estate where
even the floors are warm in winter and
his family is safe and
sycophants drive the cars and answer the phones and
write the letters in his office while
he drinks with hometown richmen and
glances at one-page summaries written by lobbyists of
thousand-page bills written by lobbyists and
goes to caucus and gets his talking points and
leaves a half-full lunch plate because
he’s on the way to play golf.


The Senator does not worry about his teeth or
his kids’ vaccinations or
whether or not his wife will go mad if
she has to clip one more coupon or
if a family cancer will wipe them out or
whether he should kill the bill collector on the phone or
kill himself.
The Senator does not get frozen feet when he stands in line, waiting for work, and not getting it,
and he is never hassled by
the frustrated poor when he passes them on the street.
He does not have to pay for his drinks or his food and
he does not blame himself for not providing for his own family.
He does not live with the disappointment of
a woman who expected more and
children who tell him what the other kids have and
he does not have to ask himself, “When will it all end?”

The Senator can, however, go to the
Senate floor when the cameras are on and
declaim on the manly virtues of
suffering through hard times,
eschewing the government dole, and
looking for honest work rather than complaining.
He can speak to his millionaire peers on
the evils of socialism and
the benefits of capitalism without
understanding either one of them himself and
he will never wonder
“When will it all end?”
He will always be a Senator
or a lobbyist
or have a sinecure.

Back in his home state,
during electioneering,
he will have a beer with the boys,
wear flannel shirts, and
hug the moms.
And they will vote for him…
Never knowing.

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Robert E. Barber, Jr.