Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Conversation

The FLGs went to The Dairy Godmother a week or so ago.  There's always a line, but there was an especially long one that day because they were also serving brats.  Anyway, as we got in line, a man and then another couple queued up behind us almost immediately.  And they started making small talk. 

Man in the Couple (MiC): Kinda long line.

Man Right Behind FLG (MRBF):  They're serving brats tonight.

MiC:  Excellent.  I love this neighborhood.  Do you live around here?

MRBF:  Not too far.  Always come for the brats though.  How 'bout you?  From around here?

MiC:  Not originally. 

MRBF:  Oh, where you from?

MiC: New York.

Woman in Couple (WiC): Outside New York. Connecticut.

MRBF:  Really?  I'm from Long Island originally.  What brought you down here?

MiC:  Work.  It's a long story, but we started a non-profit. 

MRBF: That's great.  What's the focus?

MiC: We focus on ensuring that public funds for children aren't cut.

MRBF: So, really, more of a lobbying group?

MiC:  No, we're non-profit.

MRBF:  But you're not raising money and doing things directly to help children?

MiC:  No, not exactly. 

WiC: But there's so much money in this country.  There's no reason children should have to be without.

MRBF:  I don't know that I'd say there is so much money.  The government doesn't have unlimited resources.

WiC:  But if the government bought one less tank and instead focus it on children's education or health, then that'd make a big difference.

MRBF:  Not as much as you'd think.  Abrams tank costs something like $6 mil.  The Department of Education's budget is like $60 billion or something.  That wouldn't make a huge dent.  Plus, it's not so easy.  There are contracts and jobs on the line. 

WiC:  It would be easy if people did the right thing.

MRBF:  I dunno.  I worked as a staffer for the finance committee and it's not as easy as you'd think.  And it's not just lobbyists and campaign contributions. There are a whole bunch of various issues.  As I said, there are jobs on the line.  It's not so easy to convince a senator from a state that'd lose tank producing jobs is the right thing to do in this tough economic climate.  Even if it is for children.

MiC:  Oh, you worked for the Finance Committee?  What side of the aisle were you on?

MRBF:  I worked for the committee itself, so neither.  But when I did work for Senators directly, they were Republicans.

 WiC turns and storms off.

MRBF:  Did I say something?

MiC:  She gets upset about politics.

MRBF:  That's why I retired a few years ago. To get away from it all and try not to talk about it.

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