Departing Intern Would Like to Discuss "the Nature and Merits of Public Service in America" With YouAh, the Congressional internship. Stepping-stone to a lifetime of tireless public service, or just entitled whining and constant intoxication paired with exponentially growing cynicism about the entire process. Fun! We just obtained an email from an outgoing summer intern at a Senate office that, in the words of our tipster, is "comparable only with Washington's Farewell Address." It is a "gentle reminder" that today will be this young go-getters last day at the office. It goes on to explain "the nature of democracy" and features the phrase "the noblest self-disclosure." The young intern sent the email to everyone in the damn office, of course. "Dear colleagues and respected staff members," it begins, ominously...
Dear colleagues and respected staff members, I realize how busy you all must be, and so I am simply writing as a gentle reminder that today will be my last day in your office because I leave for ***** tomorrow evening. Indeed, it feels somewhat anti-climactic that my internships in Washington have already come to a close. It has been a tremendous pleasure and, in fact, an honor to work with you over the past two months, and I have developed a great admiration for the compassionate and dedicated manner with which you work for our State as well as a great affection for the entire staff in the offices of ******** ******, whom I have grown to admire still more. If one wants to understand the nature of democracy – so the argument runs – one must spend less time in the library with Plato, and more time in the public square with people. For myself, after working in two senatorial offices and a lobby firm, and attending numerous lectures offered by the various think tanks, it has been the noblest self-disclosure to realize just how many opportunities are open to me – both in terms of personal and professional growth. I have indeed gone through the past two months with a lot my pre-existing ideas and ideologies discombobulated, changed, and refined by the pace of events down here. I have therefore likely lost any sense of professional direction which I may once have imagined that I possessed. This is, as I tend to see it, necessary if I am to be induced actually to think about my future, and it is surely part of the whole business of an internship, I think, to induce young people to reflect on such things. I have, however, been very careful to gain out of this experience only the wisdom that is in it and to stop there – that is to say, though idealism tends only to precede experience, it has for me also followed it. And, inasmuch as I have found myself – or rather subjected myself to – responding, albeit in a limited capacity, to frighteningly passionate constituencies on a minute by minute basis, I have tried to take a deep breath and ask myself: What are the deep issues here? What are the fundamental questions that have made our system so remarkably efficient in some respects, and yet so utterly inefficient in others? Needless to say, I have not been able as yet to answer either - doubtless because my introspection has been frequently interrupted by those dreadful automated calls about ANWR. Furthermore, I must say what a pleasure it was to work in an office where there is such wonderful good-fellowship and lighthearted rapport among colleagues. It is that habit of friendship which stands in sharp contrast with the superficial attachments and short-lived connections of other staffs. I feel very privileged to have shared in it. I look forward to seeing you today, and perhaps (if your schedule permits) to sharing with you the extraordinary impact each of my internships has had on my formation and ideology, and, in particular, how your own work has broadened my perception of the proper and customary function of congressional offices in Washington and in the American polity as a whole, the relationship between the politician and the citizen, and, perhaps most interestingly, the nature and merits of public service in America which in truth I initially thought bordered on masochism (just joking). With deep gratitude for graciously allowing me to spend my summer in your office, I remain Sincerely yours, ********
Someone get this guy a Tumblr!