The Cowboy and the Buffalo: A Federal Government Story

There must be something special in the air out there across our great nation.


There must be something special in the air out there across our great nation. People have been sharing their innermost feelings and bitches with me, and their numbers seem to be growing. Many different stories have arrived at my home over the past two weeks which had a great deal to do with the federal government and people's feelings about the government.

Before I get to the heart of my message, I would like to share with you a bit of humor which a buddy from the Midwest shared with me. Each person to whom I forwarded this gem agreed with me that it seems to ring true with them and their feelings about the folks who appear to be running the show in our nation's capitol. Here it is:

A cowboy walks into a local cafe with a shotgun in one hand pulling a male bull with the other. He says to the waiter, "One cup of coffee please." The waiter says, "Sure thing partner, one cup of coffee coming right up." He gets the cowboy a tall mug of coffee. The cowboy drinks the coffee down in one gulp, turns and blasts the bull with the shotgun, causing parts of the animal to splatter every where, then just walks out.

The next morning the cowboy returns to the same cafe. He has his shotgun in one hand pulling another male bull with the other. He walks up to the counter and says to the waiter, "One cup of coffee please." The waiter says, "No way buddy! We're still cleaning up your mess from yesterday. What was all that about anyway?"

The cowboy smiles and proudly says, "I am in training for an upper-level management position in the United States Government. My training is fairly simple and straightforward. Come in, drink coffee, shoot the bull, and leave the mess for others to clean up. Then disappear for the rest of the day." I was just practicing my assignment.

Sad to say, this seems right to me.

Over the past several days I have read numerous messages talking about cuts to the Fire Act Program and the non-funding of the SAFER program for fire service staffing. Then after all of these negative, nonsense messages, another round of messages began rolling in trumpeting the kick off date for the 2006 Fire Act.

I like the logic there my friends. We have less to give you, so be sure that more of you apply for the largess of the federal government. I am sorry my friends, but I am just a bit sick and tired of the constant battle to cut the legs off of the fire and emergency service world.

Last week's educational sessions, which were held in concert with the Congressional Fire Caucus Dinner, were equally dissatisfying. I hate to start bashing the people with the money, but I am just a little bit tired of being treated like somebody's idiot uncle. I am tired of people who do not know what I do telling me that they love me and know what I need. I already know what to do and am pretty certain that I know how it should be done, and what is needed to do it.

Do you know what really bothers me about this whole federal government bashing business? Innocent people get caught in the stampede. A great many really neat people will be tarred with the brush of blame along with those people who are the real guts of the problem. It is not my friends and associates throughout the system who are the real problem. They are doing a great job. However, their efforts are often lost in the midst of the endless array of bad press generated by the people who care more for power than people.

It is my fervent belief that the problems we are facing today come from the upper level management people who really have no interest in the actual delivery of services (read that bureaucrats) to the end user. They care only about the power and prerogatives available at the highest levels of our federal government. There is something really sad going on within the ranks of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

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