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What Made Maury Run
August 1972 | Volume 23, Issue 5
As for Washington, the situation is not quite as bad, but there come all day long cranks of all kinds who have a “plan” to solve the depression, or a fool-proof “pension system,” and most of them are good people who have some hold on you and you have to speak to them. I have an additional burden, and this is true of all Congressmen who are unfortunate enough to have Revolutionary, 1812, Mexican War, and Civil War relatives. Thank God there are no Abolitionists in my family, or I would break under the strain. But there are plenty of others—I think I have you beat by several generations of them.
Then in Washington life, it has a feature which is disgusting. You are invited to a supper, and frequently an important one. It is supposed to start at seven, and it starts at eight. It’s supposed to close at nine, but then everyone makes a speech, it is impossible to get away, and sometimes they last until eleven or twelve o’clock. You go home, having eaten too much, smoked too much, and listened to too much tiresome bull; you sleep too late; get to your office late. You can’t get in on account of the people blocking the door waiting to see you, and you have a mass of correspondence which you probably don’t answer in the morning and which is deferred until that night. You get behind further and further.
When any man makes a speech who has some self-respect, he has to make research. This is almost impossible, and so you send to the Library to get your books. You, of course, cannot read a speech, because Congressmen don’t listen, anyway, which necessitates an extreme familiarity with your subject if you talk without manuscript. The result is frequently slipshod speeches.
I hand you herewith a typical example of correspondence which I received this morning—one of my friends, whom I have known for twenty-five years, suggests that I lack sincerity because I disagree with him on the Supreme Court. I have written him a very sharp letter and have told him to mind his own business—but the customary thing for most Congressmen is to write a letter and say they appreciate the suggestion, and so on.
I can truthfully state the following, of every Congressman: Republican, or Democrat, he works harder than any two businessmen. He is above average, and I do not believe that there is a single Member of Congress who would accept a bribe in money in any sum. He is generally a better representative than his constituents deserve. His health is bad because of his constant application to work, and statistics show that Congressmen die of acute indigestion, heart trouble of various kinds, such as coronary thrombosis, also arterio-sclerosis, and diseases due to improper diet. He really wants to learn, study and apply himself, but conditions of being a modern messenger boy simply make it impossible.
Very truly yours,
Maury Maverick, M.C.