Saturday, January 29, 2011

Family, What Is It? To Me! To You!

Way back when, when humans lived an average age of 40 it was considered necessary to have a great deal of children, especially males, since they provided security in times of attack and strength in tilling the land. Women were good for cooking, cleaning and breeding, but considering the short life span they were probably married shortly after menstruation so they could start to provide men children. Looking at the Jewish scriptures we can see that it was a mitzvah to have many male offspring and a curse to the the wife if she couldn't provide at least one offspring. Sirach 3:1-16 describes children's duties toward their parents.
Some of the wisdom espoused shows the thinking that described a good family by making plain the children should honor and love their parents and they will be blessed. It is not surprising that parents duties towards children are not explicitly enumerated because back in Sirach's time children had no rights but the good parents knew to love them instinctively. Duties of family life, religion and charity are covered in 7:18-36.The book of Sirach is interesting from a look at the mores of a Jewish society many years before Christ.

My Grandmother was married in 1879 at the age of 14 and began having children within a year. She had 13, the first 7 died from various childhood diseases and childbirth. Thank God the last six survived especially because one of them was my mother. I am not sure of the exact dates but my grandmother on my father's side was married in the late 1800's and had children every two years or so I am told until, counting twins and such she totaled an output of, and this I could never get an exact total from my Dad or Aunt, around 18.Of course one of them was my Dad for which I am eternally thankful. You see if it wasn't for the exact people that produced them I would never have been. From both of these people I learned about family. Even though it was only my brother and me we had such an extended family we never felt we came from a small family. Without asking, it was obvious, family was there to nurture, help, protect and provide the feeling of, "Us against the world!". Within the cocoon there was much arguing, but never to the extent that they forgot who they were and from whom they came from. There was much laughter, sharing and love in this cocoon Our cousins were like brothers and sisters except for the older ones who we called aunts and uncles.

When my time came, I met a beautiful young girl, not as young as my grandmothers were, but 21 was young. We fell in love and were fruitful, six boys and one girl. And we formed a family that started with 7 children in 8 years, one set of twins. As my wife and I got older our family grew. As we got older many of our family passed on to greater glory and many dispersed over this great country of ours. Taking root was our younger family. There were signs of cohesiveness showing itself. The guys were always covering up for themselves as was the only girl as she impersonated her mother when the high school would call up to register another complaint. One incident stands out. About 35 years ago one Halloween one of my sons got hit with a BB pellet. My older sons wanted to even the score invoking the "family" right. I stopped that saying we shouldn't be causing more harm. It seems this guy who did this went around the neighborhood bragging that our guys were cowards. My oldest found him in his class one morning and tapped him on his shoulder and said something like "I hear you been talking about us.", and proceeded to pop him one in the mouth causing him to lose a tooth or two and bleed a lot. His parents made him come with the cops to each classroom but he couldn't or wouldn't identify the culprit. I showd my oldest great disdain for this act but secretly I was happy as the family "honor" lived for another day.

I could recount many times when my family acted in the manner that the Jewish scriptures implied a family should act but I will tell of the time that my house was struck by a lightening bolt which caused a fire resulting in my house being destroyed by fire, smoke and water and two days later my insurance company went bankrupt leaving me in a dilemma which I wasn't sure I'd come out of.  At the time my wife was in a nursing home and all the children were married or out on their own. But as the world was crumbling before me I looked up and saw one son, then another and pretty soon everyone was informed and my daughter was there and most of my sons. I was offered housing and I took up the offer of my Daughter-in-law even though I knew she wasn't sure if this would be a good idea. I took her up on the offer as the house was near the nursing home and I made the promise to myself that I would be on my good behavior. Then I looked up and saw my brother who had heard about the disaster and showed up for support even though he was gravely ill at the time. Since the insurance company went bankrupt and had offices in Alabama, a home office in Texas, and the State would step in as the insurer of last resort, we had to move the claim out of Alabama and Texas into New York and once there had to get the claim processed which is not a fast process in this bureaucratic setup. My son the lawyer took over this project and spent a myriad of hours pushing this through. Once we got this to New York we had to go through the insurance process and my oldest son walked through the burned out house many times with the adjuster to get the dollar amounts of personal loss right. Meanwhile the rebuilding process started and this was accepted by a builder who agreed to wait for the insurance payment not realizing the time that was going to be involved. When he realized the wait he tried to nickel and dime us on everything my second son and my daughter-in-law along with my son the lawyer spent many hours trying to get the builder to do it right. Believe me with my Mother dieing a week after the house was destroyed and my brother dieing some four months after that and my wife hanging on to life but getting worse until she expired in Jan. 2008, I just wouldn't have been able to handle any of this. My family rallied around me, lifted me and saved me. The old biblical reason, have a family large enough to protect you when you get old and can't protect yourself, certainly proved to be as true today as it was some 5000 years ago.

What is family to me? A group of people who love one-another, care for one-another, and enjoy one-another never forgetting where they came from and where they are going. My old family, cousins now since my Aunts and Uncles have left, we can get together sometimes after not seeing each other for quite a time and it feels just as comfortable and homey as it always had. With a little bit of melancholy we realize we are passing the baton to the later generation but we never forget from whence we came and the genes we share. My family which stared with seven children now has expanded to include their spouses and along with 10 grandchildren, some of which are getting quite old, in their 20's, one great grandson and their current squeezes which expand and contract seemingly at will number just under 30. One cousins party we had about 50 or so. Somehow it felt like home even though some of the younger ones didn't know all who were there.  So there are some of my thoughts about family and what it means to me. What does family mean to you?    

Monday, January 24, 2011

Faith and Hope, But Where's The Beef?

When I was very young I can remember feeling very secure despite the fact that I was very vulnerable, which is the state of all young children. I guess being held, nursed and cuddled gave me the feeling of always being protected. Yet I had no written assurance that my mother and father were going to protect me against any and all evil that was going to come my way. They did nothing heroic yet I ate well, had a nice apartment then house that kept me warm in the winter and a shady tree that kept me cool in the summer. I guess it was the fact that they provided for my well being that I came to trust them, believe that they would always be there for me. My faith was that they could protect me from everything. But as I grew in age and wisdom (?), I started to believe more in myself than them. I knew what was best for me. I could provide for myself. After all I was almost a teenager, wasn't I? Besides there were pleasures and joys waiting for me that they never wanted me to experience, but I sure as hell wanted to.

The older I got. The taller I got. The stronger I got. The less I needed, or even wanted them or anything that was outside of myself and that included the notion of God. In many ways He was even more limiting than them, all "Thou shall nots.", when I wanted the "Thou shalt dos.". On top of all the restrictive stuff  He was invisible. My parents were real. I could see them, touch them, feel them, especially my mother when she was enforcing her loving discipline upon me with her open hands finding my face, back or whatever she could hit as I ran away from her. But God? He only had representatives who dressed in black and the men terrified me but not as much as his "wives", St. Joseph nuns from whom I learned a great deal about the wrath of God. And so as this all knowing teenager I began to lose my faith and hope in externals like parents and religion. I could take care of myself and I should avoid God, if there was really one, and parents at all costs.

As I was pursuing this hedonistic existence I kept having nagging bouts of conscience. I couldn't escape it no matter how hard I tried. I refer you to that great poem, "The Hound Heaven", by FrancisThompson
to describe a little of what I was experiencing. Finally, I surrendered and made a good confession and started the battle of good and evil within my little world. I did realize that my parents were growing older and becoming a lot wiser but they really couldn't afford me the protection I needed from outside forces. This made me turn more so to God. I realized I really couldn't handle everything myself and I needed a force outside myself which was greater than myself and my enemies, and some of my friends. I started to become a religious lawyer. If you dig deep enough you can almost find a reason why it is very hard to sin. As an example, back in the old days thee hours of servile work on Sunday was a sin so you could clean the car in 2 hours and 59 minutes and still be free and clear. OR A mortal sin to get drunk! BUT If you didn't start out with the idea of getting drunk, just a little buzz, then it was a venial sin, for non'-catholics, a little sin not a hell bound one. Besides back then only you knew if you were blasted or not, which I had confirmed to me by my favourite confessor, an ex Army Chaplin. However me and God and His Saints and Blessed Mother were carrying on a continuous dialogue.

My middle ages calmed me down a bit as did the very fact of greater responsibilities of raising a family and becoming a parent that had to provide but was becoming increasingly irrelevant as the children grew. Some how I felt I had seen this scene before. Suddenly I was no longer ageing but I had aged and not like fine wine I am afraid. I have experienced life full of joy, highs and lows, births and deaths.  I have kept my dialogue with God up but the older I get the more I see whatever explanations the great philosophers and theologians give for the proof that He really does exist and all the rules of my beloved church somehow don't make as much sense as they used to nothing really satisfies the questions of the reality of God. So what I am left with is faith and hope. A belief in something invisible and a hope that this belief will bear fruition. I guess I have come to the point that my mind is just too small to grasp the reality of God but I am certain He is here and my hope is that He will be there for me and all of us always. I am happy being where I am. See the following for St. Paul's  quotes which is kind of what I am trying to say:

Hebrews 11:1 >>
New International Version (©1984)

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Romans 8:24 >>

New International Version (©1984)

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Her Name Lit Up The Skies, For Him

Her name always sounded like a great song to him. He'd just say it and wherever he was the place lit up with baubles, bangles and beads. Sounds corny, doesn't it? But her name befit her so well. He often thought it isn't true that "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.". Somehow the name rose brought great colors to mind on a stately stem and the fragrance would fill the room with great balms to the the senses. Call a rose an onion and for him the whole picture changed. That's how it was with her name. He'd say her name and it would bring visions of youth, energy, Dance and laughter wrapped up in a beauty that was indescribable.

He was getting dressed to go and see her and he was saying her name over and over again psyching himself up when he would see her. She was only a couple of miles away and he decided to walk even though it was January. The January thaw had taken over and it was a rather balmy evening. He decided to walk and sing the song from "My Fair Lady" that he had sung along with Vic Damon as it played on the radio when he, so long ago, went to pick her up for their date. Back then he wasn't familiar with her name but it always sparked the youthful feelings of love and discovery as it does even today. He adjusted his tie, threw on the suit jacket,
put on his over coat and stopped before the full length mirror in the vestibule, placed his fedora on rather jauntily and left locking the door as he started to walk to see her. Sing to himself almost under his breath.

I have often walked down this street before;
But the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before.
All at once am I Several stories high.
Knowing I'm on the street where you live.
Are there lilac trees in the heart of town?
Can you hear a lark in any other part of town?
Does enchantment pour Out of ev'ry door?
No, it's just on the street where you live!
And oh! The towering feeling
Just to know somehow you are near.
The overpowering feeling
That any second you may suddenly appear!
People stop and stare. They don't bother me.
For there's no where else on earth that I would rather be.
Let the time go by, I won't care if I
Can be here on the street where you live.

As he walked he got bolder laughing under his breath as he shouted "People stop and Stare." because they were stopping and staring and they didn't bother him and they didn't bother him because he was going to see his girl whose name alone made him feel as though he could walk on air, when she was actually there it was too heady to describe. He was truly in love, and completely infatuated all at the same time. He never completely understood how a person so beautiful, so full of life, so full of adventure could ever take up with a guy like him. But she did and she loved him and it was unbelievable. All he ever wanted was that she said she'd be his girl. They married but that was the legal, sacramental thing. The real giving of each other was becoming "HIS" girl and he "HER" guy. This declaration gave ownership to both of them that would never be broken. He remembered the heady feeling of elation when she said she would be his. They kissed like crazy on the subway going back to Elmhurst where his car was parked and all the old ladies on the train were scandalized and all the old men were remembering their youth, but to them they were the only ones on the subway car, nothing else existed but their love for each other in the surrendering of themselves to the moment which would live in their minds until death.

He was getting nearer to her place and his steps quickened as he kept repeating her name over and over in between the different words of "On The Street Where You Live". As he approached the place he finished the song, "Let the time go by, I don't care if I Can be here on the street where you live." He trotted up the five or six steps, opened the door, looked on the wall for her name and room designation. She was on the second floor. He rushed up the stairs, then halted before entering the room which was somewhat noisy and sounded crowded. He held his breath as he entered and silently went to the rear where he could view the whole room and up front in the center was the coffin being held by the bier and she looked as beautiful as ever. She looked peaceful but a little stern but once he mouthed her name he could still see the smile, hear the laughter almost see her dance again. Making the sign of the cross he quietly left the room unnoticed. As he left the funeral home and started walking back home he felt the loneliness of being without his girl. Somehow the song held more melancholy than it did previously, "The overpowering feeling, That you may suddenly appear", "I don't care as long as I can be here on the street where you live". Reaching home he unlocked the door and entered their house. The first moments were empty, like a big dark never ending hole but then he said her name first under his breath, then loudly then almost in a shout and suddenly he knew he wasn't alone she was there, still his girl and he her guy. I tell you her name is magical belonging to her heart and soul giving her love to him through eternity.

Dedicated to Sarita, Dec. 24. 1935 - Jan. 21, 2008 (4:14PM)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Some Thoughts On Ageing

The other day when I was volunteering at a local nursing home one of the residents named Terry who has all of her faculties, but her legs gave out and has her in a battery operated wheel chair, engaged me in conversation and bet she was younger than me. Laughingly I told her my birthday and when she told me hers it seemed she was correct. I was a year older! After I got her to her destination this revelation gave me pause to reflect. "Holy s**t", I thought, as I looked around at my surroundings filled with residents, "... am I looking at my future?". Time has a way of speeding by, wasn't it yesterday I was only ten and telling my friends that living to 3o years old seemed plenty to me?

When I was young, I used to say younger but after this revelation I realize the "er" doesn't apply, I wondered what old people thought about, now I know and sometimes it ain't pretty, but sometimes it is. When I was very young I thought about being older, you know a teenager, a high schooler, and playing ball, making music, and most of all meeting pretty girls. These noble desires stayed with me until I married then most of my thoughts reached the survival mode. Had a lot of kids, pets and extended family. Most of all I had a wife who I loved a great deal and never wanted to seem like a failure to her. I still pursued the "good times" but not as vigorously. I suddenly stopped wanting to be older. As I reached 30 I realized my pronouncement to my friends that this age seemed like "enough" was foolish and perhaps 40 or 50 would be more appropriate especially since I had to continue to supply food, shelter and clothing while I never embarrassed myself to my wife who I continued to love more and more. During these middle years, music making, ball playing and the pursuit of pretty girls ceased, not all at once but slowly and surely.

Once 50 was reached I realized that I had to stop putting limits on the age that was "enough". It has taken me a while but I am not sure what age is "enough" but this much I am sure of that it isn't the age it is the mental and physical health, once they decline it is time to go, "ENOUGH". In many ways I miss my youth. I'd like to get up in the morning and not wait a half hour or so until my body tells me it doesn't hurt so much. I'd like to have my wife by my side, we slept in a queen size bed, a single bed is kind of lonely and when the covers come off, cold. I miss being relevant to survival of a family. In many ways as we grow older we lose a great deal of relevancy. Some but not all days it would be good to have a job to go to on a steady basis.

On the plus side it is good to wake up and have my feet hit the floor and get ready for another day with all it's charms and mysteries. It is good to be free to do whatever I want without the encumbrances  that responsibilities of a family, job and all those things that go with youth, like sending your kid off to college. It is good to volunteer for my peers who are not as lucky as I am as they have lost the ability, be it mental or physical, to take care of themselves. It is good to see that my children and grandchildren, are still here with me. They are all going through the struggles I did when I was their ages. Hopefully they are smarter than I was but mistakes will be made and they will become stronger because of overcoming obstacles.

Many of my peers worry about survival for many reasons but the prevalent one is the fear of being alone. The loss of a support group. The second fear is the loss of independence. The ability to drive, and get around on their own. In this way so far I have been very fortunate. About four and a half years ago my house was destroyed by a lightening hit, my mother, brother died within four months of this hit. My wife died about 2 years later. My large family rallied round and I certainly am not alone as they provided support that is unmeasurable. So far I have retained my independence. Soon I shall reach the age that is "enough" but not yet. So for those of you who may wonder what an old guy thinks about the question comes up "Would you want to be young again?". The answer is no, it is just too much trouble, besides I like where I am now!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tulsa, Arizona Memorial Service

Shots rang out Sat. Jan. 8 shattering the air with sounds of destruction killing 6 and wounding 14. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords lay near death with a bullet piercing her brain. Amid all the chaos there was sanity which applied first aid that saved her life, people subdued the madman and took away his ability to kill. First responders quickly arrived on the scene and order was soon restored but the destruction wrought remained, stark and chilling crying out for justice and sanity to return as good people were attacked, hurt and some destroyed. We all heard about it but the cold words in a newspaper or a media reporter telling us about it can not convey the horror of what had happened. Following this both the right and left of American politics began finger pointing placing blame on each other for the horrendous happening. Healing had to begin. Order had to be restored and those who were in the middle of this had to be honored for their losses.
The University of Arizona held a memorial service in a basketball arena which was attended by dignitaries and plain people in an attempt to bring the beginning of healing to the community and nation.

At first the loud cheering was jarring. Shouldn't we be somber, mournful? As the proceedings continued it became obvious from the beginning that you can be Mournful, respectable yet still have happiness in the hope that this useless act would lead to a more useful ending. The opening Blessing from the Native American Professor was meaningful and beautiful as it recognized the Creator and all his creation even the bugs and animals as well as all of us. President Obama's speech was a return to the Obama we voted for for, eloquent, full of hope and compassionate almost as if he really knew all of those who were harmed and those who heroically were involved. How true were his statements about the 9 year old victim, Christina Taylor Green.

How true were his statements that when we think of her and her expectations, dreams, imagination and sense of discovery we can see our own children and grandchildren. For me, Obama brought home Jesus' instruction to become like little children, childlike in trust and hope, in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. We, all of us, have this sense of wonder, trust in goodness and expectation that tomorrow holds great surprises for us, until we let the cynicism encountered by entering the world of "grown ups" destroy all of it. The time has come to reclaim it, to become "like little children". This doesn't mean we have to let others take advantage of us for we should always fight for the right things while maintaining a sense of purity.

We know very little about the perpetrator and his family. Obviously he is a madman, that being so it means he needed help and never got it. Until proven otherwise, he is sick and never got the attention he needed to make him well or remove him from society so that he couldn't hurt himself or others. His family must be devastated by all this and they need our prayers and support. All this has a ripple effect like dropping a stone in the water, the effect goes to each shore, downstream and upstream touching much more than only the spot where the stone was dropped. Let us pray that this will affect all of us only in good ways.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Year's Resolutions From 2011 That Still Apply For 2013

Blogged my intentions for 2011 and they need little updating. Except that I have decided not to make any more resolutions because I never seem to keep them and if I did I probably wouldn't be happy. The only new resolutions I have for 2013 is to eat, drink and be happy and enjoy all God's gifts that have been given to me especially my new and old loves that make this crazy world worth living.

With that here are my New year's Resolutions from 2011 that apply to 2013!

Maria's Blog at is one of witty and original ideas. She recently posted  something about New Year's Resolutions that prompted me to steal rather, that inspired me to use her originality for one of my posts. For those of you who remember, I have become the Milton Berle of Blogging. I did post the following comment to her blog:

"I never used to make resolutions but now that I have aged, like good wine here are a few for 2011: I will make only good investments! The first is at my age never to buy green bananas. I will live each day as though it is my last and at my age it may very well be! I will continue to watch Seinfeld reruns and gain by the good karma and philosophy of George who is my hero right after Mr. Costanza. I will get more sleep which is easy as all I have to do is turn on the TV and watch. This year I will NOT write the Yankees requesting a try out. One good thing I have found at my age is I can say almost anything I want to pretty young girls who regard me as harmless so I will try to be more outrageous than I have been. AND Finally whenever I get depressed I shall read this blog so that my spirits can be uplifted by Maria’s great insights which are full of humor which She must know from whom she inherits it. Great Posting."

Green bananas by their very nature requires time. As we age time is never something we can waste. Invest in stock and if you are lucky it will appreciate before you die so you can leave it to your family to save the capital gains tax. Somebody is going to eat those green bananas after they ripen and it probably won't be you.  Wait too long and green bananas and stock usually over ripens and becomes a loss.

Watching the Seinfeld re-runs always brings greater insight into the "double dip", flying at half fare when a death in the family is involved and the importance of knowing where the best public bathrooms in New York are. Mr. Costanza brought to mind the dangers of war when in Korea he as the cook for his outfit almost killed them all with food poisoning. Oh the horror! Mr. Costanza had other contributions like the man bra, the girl bra and "THE MOVE", when one stopped short in the car using the left arm to brace the female in the front seat from smashing into the dashboard while getting a "feel". Life's important moments. Those who did not follow the series can catch up on the re-runs via cable.

Sleep is very important. Sleep is a component to happiness. I can't seem to sleep more than five or six hours at a time. I have noticed that when I watch television, Seinfeld excluded, I manage to sleep at least fifteen to thirty minutes every hour. I shall force myself to watch more TV in order to get more sleep and increase my happiness. At around 11:30 PM I shall retire for my extended sleep and more happiness. I do dream. In my dreams I always win and get the girl.

I will still root for the Yankees but if they want to pass up a great opportunity to sign someone who can insure the World Series to them, then the HELL WITH THEM. This year I won't write them requesting a try-out. As I said, I'll still root for them but I can't excuse their stupidity if they end up losing.

Have any of you guys out there noticed that as you get older you can get away with more? People hold doors open for you. You are addressed as "SIR" by anyone that thinks you look old enough to be their father or (damn it!), grandfather. Especially the younger women, who in their eyes are "younger" even if they are in their fifties or sixties. The younger they are the more harmless and cuddly they think you are. Watch out don't call them "girls" if they are under thirty but you are on safe ground with "girls" once past thirty. I know some "girls" who are over one hundred who just beam at being addressed as "girls"  while the under thirty crowd insists they are "women".

Every once in a while I may get a bit melancholy and that's when I shall refer to Maria's blog I mentioned at the beginning of this posting. I always am uplifted by her originality and way with words. She always makes me laugh and at times shed a tear. I am sure if I followed her recipes I'd put on a great deal of weight.

Well, that's some of my New Year's resolutions. What are yours?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The 112th. Congress

Watched the swearing in of John Boehner, the new Speaker of The House of Representatives. Amid all the pomp and ceremony was the rhetoric that this was the people's house and the 112th. Congress was there to do the will of the people. For a group of people who really only was supposed to be the representatives of the citizens of the United States of America they all looked like fat cats ready to dip their hands into the pot so they could get fatter. They certainly didn't look like the common people. I bet they all had suits that cost around a thousand or more dollars. The females were also regally dressed. A lot of us common folk can't afford duds like that. They looked more like royalty than representatives of us common folk. For reference see the pictures of the engagement of the Prince of England and notice the clothes they were wearing, more like the Congressmen or women than me or the people I know.

Maybe they had the idea they were supposed to be our leaders? Are leaders supposed to follow the will of the people or direct the masses towards the greater goals? Certain areas of the USA have a population that
wants to cut drastically benefits such as medicare, medicaid and Social Security  probably because they are misled or don't need these social plans because they have amassed personal wealth and they don't give a damn about those who are not as fortunate. Should the Representatives from these section of the USA argue their case even though eventually it would weaken the Union as it would destroy the middle class? Or should the leaders have enough reason to show the errors of their constituents way and "lead" them to the right conclusion? I think Leaders are expected to "lead" not follow as the phrases of only "doing the will of the people" seem to suggest.

It seems that we have created a new set of nobility and call them members of Congress. They are not the only ones. The Administrative Branch of our Government have also been elevated to the noble class. Our President and his staff walk into a room and everyone has to stand. When he addresses Congress there are standing ovations and cheering. Everyone including our President are dressed to the teeth in fine attire. Then they have parties that cost a fortune while we still have close to 10%, closer to 16%, real unemployment. The President and his staff also follow the line of "Doing the will of the people.", also being a follower not a leader. BUT, as long as they stay in power everything is fine.

The Judicial Branch of government is another set of created nobility. Once appointed, the Supreme Court reigns supreme. They enter a room, everyone stands. They speak, rather, Pontificate, every one listens and oohs and aahs. I have a few suggestions for these Nobles.

When we walk into the room they should stand. All special benefits should cease. They should be made to drop all their insurance, pensions and have to join Social Security, Medicare and when their fortune is wiped out like many of the middle class by catastrophic illness they can go through the Medicaid morass. Their terms in elected office or the judiciary should be limited. When over they should not be allowed back into the Washington treasury for life! That's correct, if they only want to serve then they shouldn't be allowed to use their contacts to make money. They are barred from doing business with Washington for life. Let's see how many of these so called common people would come to Washington to serve under these conditions.

Of course none of this will happen but one can dream, can't one?