Recently I received a voice mail from the office of U.S. Congressman Tom Cole and the National Republican Congressional Committee. The message informed me that the NRCC wished to “recognize [you] with our highest honor, the Congressional Order of Merit” and asked me to call.
A Congressional Order of Merit? For me? How could I refuse?
The staff person who answered the phone told me that as part of being singled out for this honor, I’d also been invited to serve on a business advisory council, and she asked me to listen first to a recorded message from Congressman Cole before she provided me with further details.
The message was most instructive. I learned that small businesses like mine “are the backbone of our community”. I learned that Democrats think I’m “rich and don’t pay [my] fair share of taxes”, and that I could play an important role in combating their “anti-business agenda”. I also learned that small business owners like me are “the last line of defense against the liberal agenda”. Finally, I learned that Tom Cole and the National Republican Congressional Committee needed my help.
At the end of the message, the staff person asked me if I had any questions. I asked her how much it would cost to take part. She told me that there was no cost–only my participation on the advisory council.
As tempting as the opportunity was, I had to come clean. I confessed that by no stretch of the imagination could I be characterized as a supporter of Republican political causes. I asked how they selected my name in the first place. She sidestepped that last question but hastily reassured me that Democrats and Independents could serve on the council as well.
I regretfully declined the honor.
Which meant, alas, no Congressional Order of Merit for me.
(Just for fun, try googling the phrase “Congressional Order of Merit”. I did. It yielded the news that the NRCC has extended this prestigious-sounding but meaningless honor to numerous others, including a former Democratic congresswoman and National Public Radio science correspondent Ira Flatow. I wait breathlessly to see what honor the Democrats next have planned for me.)