Another good reason to elect ex-military people to political office

I am something of a sybarite.  Not in a big way, but in a little way.  I like two creature comforts:  a very comfortable bed (a liking that grows more important as I get older and suffer from fairly chronic insomnia) and I like to have my own bathroom, complete with all the amenities.  Give me those and a computer, and I’ll be a pretty happy person.

I read in the WSJ today, however, that a lot of the incoming Representatives (i.e., Republicans) are planning on saving money and showing their commitment to their home towns by camping out in their offices.  My first thought was, “that’s laudable.”  My second was, “I”d never do that.”  I did get a little insight into the kind of people who can make this (to me) sacrifice, though, when I read this (emphasis mine):

Earlier this month, freshman lawmakers drew lots and chose the three-room suites they and their aides will inhabit in one of three House office buildings.

For many of them, a key selling point was not proximity to the House chamber, where they’ll vote, but to the House gym, where they’ll shower.

Rep.-elect Tim Griffin, an Army reservist, stood near the gym in the Rayburn House Office Building and used some compass software on his phone to navigate the paths to potential offices.

There’s your answer, right?  After the rigors of the military, an office near a shower is tolerable.  For me, after the luxuries of suburban life, anything less than mine, mine, mine is hard to contemplate.

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  • SGT Dave

    BW,
    You mention creature comforts and it makes me smile.  When I was a young soldier at Ft. Davis and working often at Ft. Sherman, our platoon sergeant correctly stated “Happiness is a shower and a clean pair of drawers; everything else is gravy.”  Live in the field for 15-40 days (“field” defined as mangrove swamps and triple-canopy jungle) and it puts a perspective on the whole thing. 
    Notably, many of the troops in Iraq and transitioning in and out of Kuwait had to walk 50-200 meters to the shower facilities.  “Near” the showers for military folks often means close enough that you can use flip-flops instead of tennis shoes for the trip.
    Have a good December, all, and here’s hoping for a good session from our new representatives.

    SSG Dave
    “No, actually we don’t have water heaters – the engineers ran a line about four kilometers to the volcanic springs up on that mountain.”

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    “No, actually we don’t have water heaters – the engineers ran a line about four kilometers to the volcanic springs up on that mountain.”
     
    But doesn’t that mean it opens it up for enemy sabotage? So said the gunny to the officer.
     
     

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    For me, after the luxuries of suburban life, anything less than mine, mine, mine is hard to contemplate.
     
    I guess you’ll never join the survivalist circle, eh? ; ) You know, filter your own water using a layered rock/mineral system.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    There’s a reason I self-identify as a “wuss.”

  • suek

    Wouldn’t you think that with all the buildings owned by the government in Washington and the surrounding area, that they could commandeer _one_ of them to use for a dormitory like set up for those who wanted to use it?  While perhaps many would prefer _not_ to use it – real estate being such a great investment and all, and so many wanting to participate in the high social life of the Congress – nevertheless, wouldn’t you think it could be made available for those who _did_ want it?

  • Jose

    Sgt Dave said: “Near” the showers for military folks often means close enough that you can use flip-flops instead of tennis shoes for the trip.

    I well remember navigating tent ropes in the dark, not always successfully.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    In Marco Martinez’s Hard Corps, he describes how his unit had to go to the bathroom in the desert in pairs, digging out little holes for themselves, during the initial invasion.  Not conducive to privacy or comfort, but definitely a bonding experience.

  • SADIE

    Politics and platoon life – neither would work for me at this stage in life. Like you Book, my insomnia demands a comfy bed.  I even travel with a favorite pillow. Unless camping out includes; the comfy bed, my favorite pillow and the option of room service – it’s out of the question.
     
    In case you think I am a tad spoiled, let me assure you all that I am not. I lived in what can only be called a six – story barrack, courtesy of the Jewish Absorption Agency. Sharing the confines of a small bedroom with my assigned roommate,  a bathroom that could only described as a closet (not a walk-in type) and kitchen facilities (in the loosest sense of the term) that precluded anyone weighing more than 140 pounds from entering. Two people standing in the kitchen would be considered too personal of an experience and a sexual assault if you tried moving suddenly. Oh, the best part – no air conditioning, summer, 95 degree heat and matching humidity, no chance of rain for 6 months. I was no youngster – and nearing 50 at the time.
     
    I am a full fledged sybarite today and the only thing I like to share are a few thoughts.
     
     

  • http://ruminationsroom.wordpress.com Don Quixote

    The whole thing smacks of a gimmick.  The new representatives should go home to their families at night.  I don’t want publicity stunts; I want results.

  • suek

    Good thoughts, DQ, except their families are probably at home in their own districts.
     
    It’s something we need to look at – could the time in DC be shortened?  Maybe have physical presence required for one-two weeks of the  month …or  a couple of weeks every couple of months?  do some of the rest of meetings and info gathering by internet?  If not…if it’s necessary for members to be physically present for the entire session, then it’s reasonable for the member to live in the area – and to move his/her family there as well.  That means that said member must have two residences – one in the home district, one in the DC district.  That could be a problem for those who are not already millionaires.
     
    Also, they’re ex-military.  They’re already accustomed to working in one place, having family in another.  It’s called TDY.  I’ve always thought it was funny that people thought that military families were large due to the free health care.  It wasn’t the free health care – it was all the homecomings…!