Beltway Mindset

Mike King's picture

I came across this article this am on a conservative website written by Beverly Gunn who quite clearly depicts the 'mindset' of those entrenched in our nation's capital. She may well be a career military family member or perhaps a federal employee, but without doubt a Washington outsider.

She seems to have hit the nail squarely on the head in that few, if any, inside the Beltway have a clue as to what America is really like. Enjoy.

Fighting the Beltway Mentality
By Beverly Gunn
I have heard many folks openly observe that all members of Congress must live in a different world than we live in. I have pondered this oft heard statement and I must concur. I have a direct sense and understanding of these, now particularly odious folks, with a story of life as we knew it around the Beltway of Washington.

Back in the late 1980's we were assigned to the D.C. area due to military posting. It was a cultural shock to the entire family. In part, the disparity was due to having lived in Germany for four wonderful years and being more accustomed to a quieter, less stressful lifestyle. While in Germany we enjoyed no loud noises on Sunday, closed stores, and simply a slower, easier lifestyle. When we hit the D.C. area, living went into warp speed. And not only that, we were surrounded by people, each of whom felt he was more important than the last person introduced, and we found a permeated self-centered mindset unlike anything we had ever seen anywhere in all our adventures around the world.

This was demonstrated as each person we met immediately gave us their job title, followed by the title of whatever their (significant other) did for a living. It was clear this was done to highlight personal importance. In part this amused me, but I soon came to understand this was only the beginning of what we learned was called Beltway Mentality. We discovered that this was an area where each person we met was competing to out-do everyone else, while also cultivating self-importance.

It was a singularly insular place where a certain framework of assumption included the concept that ideas formed here should be the gold standard for the nation and the rest of the world. Or worse, the assumption's further corollary was that if others did not think your way, then they must have a significant defect!

To keep our children from developing presumptuous, arrogant, and self-centered attitudes took immense diligence within our home. I found a good way myself by staying focused on keeping our home life balanced and by heading home to my parents' ranch in Texas and doing manual labor several times a year. There is nothing that keeps a person grounded more than doing manual labor.

I noticed few in Washington, D.C. ever did real manual labor. Seemed most lived what my old Daddy called privileged lives. I found that one trip home and working cattle or walking fence lines to look for fencing issues could reinvigorate me and keep me sound and balanced, so I went as often as I could afford to and we took the children home during long summers, for similar reasons.

The day we left Washington, I picked up the Washington Post newspaper on the lawn, before our car pulled out of the driveway, on our departure to Texas. Quickly scanning the news, we opened the comic page and the comic strip that jumped off the page was a strip about two sad-sack fellows called Frank and Ernest. These two hapless characters were depicted this day in the strip by standing at a crossroads. A signpost stood next to them to point directions. One sign pointed to Washington, D.C., and was so posted. The opposing signpost read, quite simply, "to the rest of the world." Never have I seen a thought so quite revealing and accurate.

I would say that this thought has been amplified in the years that have passed since we moved away to our ranch, living what we feel is a privileged, grounded, and wonderful life. And as I watch the spectacle of arrogance exuding from the halls of Congress I have drawn a conclusion: collectively, we need to give the seated legislators more grounding, by sending them packing and allowing these privileged fools the opportunity to do work in the real world and never give them another opportunity to force the rest of us into their truly warped and dysfunctional world.

Frankly, we'd just as soon live in a world where we work happily with our hands and find meaning in family, in church and community and the satisfaction of home and hearth. You see, outside of Washington, D.C., we have grounded lives and generally put the welfare of others before ourselves.

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Submitted by Angry Taxpayer on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 1:51pm.

Isn't it interesting that when Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush took their vacations they usually went to their ranches to clear brush and do other manual labor to maintain their privately owned assets.

On the other hand, Clinton and Obama sit on beaches or play golf with their "jet set" celebrity friends at "loaned" mansions.

The Dims pontifications about being "one with the common man" is just more of their "smoke and mirrors" baloney.

Submitted by Bonkers on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 3:49pm.

Isn't it odd that there always was a camera crew to take their picture while they chopped or rode horses and trucks for awhile---just odd.
How much wood do you really think Reagan chopped? Bush? Why isn't Bush living where the taxpayers built him a very expensive house?

Both of those dudes vacationed themselves to death!

It is similar to Cheney and Bush spouting off macho stuff every day about what they were going to hunt down and smoke out! Just what redneks want to hear!

Leave the man alone for a few days. He gives the orders without chatting on TV about how he will thrash them. You aren't used to intelligent people in the W.H. recently.

Submitted by AtHomeGym on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 4:05pm.

Are talking about the same kind of cameras that just happened to show up at Dover in the wee hrs of the am to record/report Presbo greeting returning warriors in caskets? So how about explaining how George & Laura Bush made it to Ft Hood to visit those wounded in the massacre and relatives of those slain without any press and zero publicity at all? Is it impossible for you to discern the difference? Careful now, don't get run over by logic--that wouldn't be characteristic.

Git Real's picture
Submitted by Git Real on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 1:25pm.

Even the Republicans have trashed the concept of Term Limits. Power and influence appear to more addicting than... let's say.... Bonker'$ Fox news leg ogling and porn addictions.

Just Like Welfare and Socialized Medicine - You Don't Have To Work For It.... THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE

Submitted by Bonkers on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 1:54pm.

I saw where Mike was griping about refereces, yet he quotes one guy's opinion of our government as gospel! A fellow traveler I think.

Git, porn addiction? Is that the Fox legs and black pants?
They have a whole stall of them in back, training day and night I hear. O'Reilly knows them all---got in trouble with one of them!

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 2:07pm.

The New Year is nigh and having just resolved to be a bit more tolerant, charitable, and understanding I feel I am going to have to include being nicer to those afflicted by dementia. So, Happy New Year to you.

Submitted by Bonkers on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 3:54pm.

OK. Can we wish Rush Limbaugh a successful hospital visit together?

Submitted by Davids mom on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 2:11pm.

You make it so difficult to keep new year resolutions. I have one more day before I start.

Hoosier Fan's picture
Submitted by Hoosier Fan on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 11:05am.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful article on a day when we often pause to ponder the year that is about to end and to consider our priorities for the coming year.

I believe the current mindset of our public servants at all levels - local to federal - as explained in this article would look so foreign to our Founders who idealized the concept of the "citizen statesman".

We have strayed, but is is our own fault for valuing style over substance (or even sincerity) when voting for those who represent us in government.

I have appreciated reading the posts of thoughtful men like yourself who are willing to take a principled stand and communicate it in this venue. I wish you the best in 2010.

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