KATIE ZERR: Congress can learn a lesson from Peterson, Maroney

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On his first handoff in training camp practice on Tuesday, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson burst through the line, his surgically repaired left knee nearing full strength again after he had suffered a devastating injury in December 2011.

His return to the National Football League at this time is just short of miraculous by medical standards. The average time to recover from the type of surgery Peterson had to repair the damage in his knee is 18 months. He is far ahead of the schedule because he worked extremely hard, pushing himself to recover and get back to work.

World vault champion and double medal winning gymnast McKayla Maroney competed at the London Olympics despite breaking her right big toe for the second time during training two weeks before the games. Maroney broke the toe in May, and then aggravated the break in June. When she landed her beam dismount in practice just before the games, she split the bone even further.

This shows that people can accomplish great things, no matter what circumstances they face. Some become even greater when saddled with adversity. They inspire the human spirit and sometimes push us to accomplish something we didn’t think we could.

As we watch our Congress languish in excuses about the “Other Guy” causing all of the problems, we wonder if an injection of human triumph couldn’t hurt.

With just one in 10 Americans approving of the job Congress is doing, (according to a Gallup poll released Tuesday) those elected to serve their districts in that body can’t be satisfied. Can they actually be fine with the lowest approval rating in 38 years?   Could it be that they are satisfied with being able to blame the other guy and walk away from a stalled legislative body without guilt of what it is doing to our country?

This cannot be true. These are people who wanted to be in Congress. Some of them fought hard political battles to get there. How can they be satisfied with this performance?

Going back to the Peterson, Maroney analogy, if they were in Congress, Peterson would still be in his hospital gown, bemoaning the players who hit him and whining loudly every time a doctor or nurse pushed him to get out of his bed. He would want millions thrown into some study to find out why injuries of this sort happen. He would call for his follow Congress members to get involved in governing of the sport that caused his injury, taking months to hear testimony from others with similar situations.

If Maroney held a seat in Washington, she would be calling for a committee to investigate how this could have happened and who is to blame for her injury. She would head this special committee, bringing her sob story to that bench time and time again, so we would not forget.

She would traverse the gleaming halls of Capitol Hill on her crutches, conjuring up tears when the lights of the cameras fell upon her.

That is the difference between people with a drive to make a difference and those who play politics.

Congress has a built-in excuse not to get out of bed in the morning to work hard to find difficult solutions. They have the crutches to lean on whether they need them or not.

With the November elections less than three months away, they have yet another excuse for doing nothing because it can all change after the election.

We have an election every four years. Does that mean they have an excuse not to work the two years prior because they are getting ready for their guy to take over?

If the people we paid to provide our sporting, musical or movie or television entertainment had that attitude, we would fire them and we do just that. We do not pay for tickets to their games, concerts or movies and we seek others who could accomplish what we expected for our money.

If our elected officials lived in the real world, utterances of “this is the worst Congress ever” would strike fear in their hearts and push them to at least make a minimal effort.

Maybe they need a daily pep talk from Adrian Peterson or McKayla Maroney.

But they would actually have to be at work for that to happen.

– Katie Zerr –


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