Steve A. Stone
Congressman Jerry Carl
1330 Longworth House Office Building
15 Independence Ave SE
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Congressman Carl,
You and I have known each other for quite a number of years. I don’t consider myself a close personal friend. I’ve never been in your home, nor have you been in mine. We have never dined out together. We don’t attend the same church. We don’t “travel” in the same circles. Yet we have many, many mutual friends, and I can attest to two things. The first is – all our mutual friends hold you in the highest regard and place their utmost trust in you. The second is – every one of those people is worried about you.
I make it no secret that I’ve offered to assist you, and to do so without any compensation at all. I’ve made that offer to you in writing, via intermediaries, and in person. The offer stands today and will not be withdrawn. I’m writing this letter and will publish it for one purpose only – to ensure everyone who might care understands what I’m doing and why. I understand there might be some "law" that requires all staff members to be compensated, which is how all the relatives end up on Congressional staff payrolls. If you have to pay, then I'll happily work like Harry Hopkins did for FDR and take a $1 bill from you.
How many times have you had anyone offer free assistance that didn’t end up costing you something? Probably never. Most people have at least one agenda they don’t declare. It’s human nature to want something for one’s efforts. It’s an extremely rare thing to find a person who is intrinsically motivated. But, the truth is, I’m one of those people, and have been most of my life. If I give my word to someone, I cannot rest until I’ve kept it. Being in any form of debt is something that nags at me in an unrelenting way. I don’t mind someone owing me, and never feel at all bothered that some people have a hard time keeping their word. That’s their problem, not mine. Mine is in the owing, not in being owed. When I give anything to another it’s a gift, with no expectation of being paid back in any way. I may die penniless one day because of my ways, but I’d prefer that to worrying about being owed.
Years ago, when I was still immersed in studying leadership styles, I ran across an interesting acronym – WIFM. I saw that acronym used many times over the years. Its breakdown: What’s In It For Me? What I learned had to do with motivating people to do things they would normally not volunteer for. To get employee buy-in on a work assignment or special responsibility they might not want, a good leader should spend a lot of up-front time in WIFM considerations, then ensure the employee in question understands ahead of time there will be a reward for their efforts that means something to them. A bit later I'll declare my own WIFM, to spare you whatever time you’d be inclined to do such analysis regarding me.
I turned 70 a bit more than two weeks ago. That’s not a great age by today’s standards, and I certainly don’t feel 70, nor do I allow myself to concede anything to age. I hew to all my life habits and continue to be a committed do-it-yourselfer. I manage to have at least four active projects going simultaneously. When I retired, the last day in December last year, my life’s pace sped up quite a bit. I realized within the space of two days my Navy work career was actually respite, and my “real” life’s work was just beginning. This letter itself is part of that work.
I convey these tidbits for a reason – you know me only in a casual way. You have no intimate basis for placing any trust in me at all. But, those mutual friends I referred to above – they can vouch for the truth of my assertions and provide some context to them, as well as my motivation. I make no secret of anything. If ever there was an “open book” it’s me. In fact, if you read my books you’d have very few questions to ask regarding my code of ethics and motivation. But, as far as I know, you’ve never read any of my books, so I understand I’m something an enigma.
You might have had many chances to know me better over the years, but that entire time my main focus was on my wife’s health issues. Those issues finally resolved on last December 2nd at 4:10 p.m. Even I didn’t comprehend how much of my life had been put on hold for all those years. You may have had a glimpse of that when we visited briefly at Mr. Lee James’ funeral, back in the middle of 2018. I’ll be a long while in catching up with overdue tasks, but I’m willing to put all that back on hold if you’d allow me to serve you.
Congressman, the pure truth is – life has been very generous to me. I’ve had ups and downs, as have we all. But, overall I’m finishing up my life so far in the “Plus Column” even I am amazed. I own my own property outright, and have for over 15 years. I have zero debts other than for the one credit card I use to buy fuel. It’s paid a day after I get it in the mail. My FICA score today is 837. It was 844, but someone stole my wife’s Discover card number and bought something from QVC in January, and it took me three months to get that matter figured out and the card cancelled. I have no car loans, though I do own 5 vehicles, and will soon own 7. The latter two will be purchased with cash. I have account balances in my credit union that are large enough for me to learn they have something called “The Platinum Club,” which supposedly grants special favors from them that I’ll never use. To top it off I have a “guaranteed” income stream that’s equal to what I made before I retired. Then, there’s that health thing. I’m seeing a lot of my high school and military friends from the “old days” dying off. I lose an old friend almost every week now. Yet, I’m as healthy as I’ve ever been. I had COVID-19 in March 2020. It caused me to have a slight headache and some body aches for three days, then … nothing. I’ve been exposed to COVID-19 many times since, yet I haven’t been bothered by it in the slightest. I don’t kid myself that I’m immune, but the chances of me re-contracting and dying of COVID-19 are somewhere between slim and none. I haven’t been bothered by thoughts of that disease in the least – not personally. I do worry about many of my friends who are compromised in one way or another.
You have no reason to know this, but I’ve been a political “junkie” from a very young age. I still remember sitting in front of my family’s old black & white RCA Victor box TV set, watching the Kennedy-Nixon Debates with my father. Even though I was only 9 years old I was totally fascinated by the discussions and the enormity of it all. My father was a hereditary Democrat. He never once told me who he voted for. I let him know I would vote for Richard Nixon, if I could. Later on I told him I was in Barry Goldwater’s camp, then again a follower of Nixon. Even when I didn’t much like the Republican Party’s candidate I never found a single Democrat I could support, except at the local level. I think it's correct to state I've been a solid Republican Party supporter for 61 years now, and have served on the Mobile County Republican Executive Committee for almost seven years.
Ideologically I am a libertarian, but one who believes in adherence to strict immigration policies and the right to life of all unborn children. I'm a constitutional libertarian, and believe we should always follow the counsel of our nation's Declaration of Independence and the dictates of our Constitution. When I'm asked why I don't claim to be a conservative I usually respond with, "A conservative is too often willing to tell you how to live your life; a libertarian never will." Some conservatives have an authoritarian streak in them; real libertarians don't.
I assume you're tired of this narrative by now, so I'll wrap it up by making a few concise statements.
Congressman, you're in danger every minute of every day you hold office. You're literally surrounded by Deep State operatives and swamp creatures. If your office staff includes "roll-overs" from any previous Congressperson, there's a high likelihood you have at least one Deep Stater burrowed into your office, reporting on all they see and hear ... to someone. The Deep State's objective is to turn you; to corrupt you in some way, large or small. They will be unrelenting in their efforts. Can you fend them off alone? Do you have people around you who'll guard your integrity as if it was their own? That's what you need. You also need someone who's skilled at dissecting legislation. You told me how that's done now, and it may work, but what if it doesn't? What if one of those staffers who dissect and distill legislative language for you and the other Republican members purposefully omits or provides false analysis of some part of a newly released bill? Without a means of independently validating the talking point synopsis of a bill, what makes you believe in and trust all who provided input into the product you ultimately work from? These are my concerns.
Congressman Carl, I won’t beat around the bush. My offer to work for you stands unless and until you either accept it or decline. I’ll make no further statement regarding this communication. Convey your response in any way that’s convenient. I’ll accept whatever you decide is best for you.
Oh, I almost forgot – that WIFM thing. Yes, there is something in it for me if you accept my offer. It would be the honor of my life to help ensure my Congressman could always and rightfully claim to be the most honorable politician in Washington, which is who I think you are today. That WIFM is what all Alabamians should hope for.
Thank you for your time and attention.
Steve Stone© Steve A. Stone
The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.