Calling politicians public servants, including our own legislators and statewide officials, is like calling the guy with the whip the hardest working galley slave.
It is interesting to learn, via The Associated Press in Olympia, that only four House members -- out of 147 Senate and House lawmakers -- have elected to cut their own pay.
Yet they cut other state employees' pay by up to 3 percent.
That's what passes for frugal government in Olympia.
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One of the members who did return part of her pay offers a kind of defense for her skinflint -- well, hypocritical -- fellows:
"You know, not everyone can afford to take a pay cut. I'm just really glad that I can," said Rep. Ann Rivers, a Republican from La Center, who works as a public affairs consultant and elected to cut her $42,106 salary by 3 percent. She called it "a very personal decision" and told the AP that after voting to cut public employees' pay, she felt it was wrong not to reduce hers.
She's right about that. She's wrong that other legislators may not be able to afford a pay cut.
In fact, we don't know of anyone who can "afford" a pay cut. There have been a fair number of Tri-City workers who have had to endure them of late.
Most of those we've talked with seem to be feeling a mixture of depression and relief -- depression because of the pinch, relief because they didn't lose their jobs altogether.
The three other lawmakers cutting their pay, said the AP, are Democratic Reps. Frank Chopp, Larry Seaquist and Troy Kelley; each is taking a cut of 5 percent or more. A few state officials are donating money to charity or scholarships instead of waiving pay.
As of last week, Gov. Chris Gregoire, state Treasurer Jim McIntire and state schools Superintendent Randy Dorn were the only statewide elected officers to have signed up for pay waivers.
"Follow Me" is the shoulder patch insignia of the Army's Infantry School, where enlisted and commissioned personnel are trained in leadership skills.
That insignia says it all.
It would be unsuitable as an insignia for our legislators, excepting, of course, the four cited above.
"I'll come last, if at all," seems more suitable for their kind.
Sure, we know Washington is supposed to have a "citizen Legislature." Ordinary folks are supposed to go there and represent the ordinary (and sometimes extraordinary) folks back home.
But somehow the courting of the lobbyists and the privileges the legislators cut for themselves delude them into thinking they are something special.
If, as some predict, more legislators rush to file for pay waivers, claiming ignorance of the procedure, it will be welcomed.
It will not be a sign of leadership by them, however. It is too late for that.
No, for them it will simply indicate that despite being elected to the Legislature, they are not without shame.
That will be something.