I don't know about y'all, but the freshmen orientations I attended were alternately nerve-wracking and mind-numbingly dull. There are elements of both for 34-year old Heath Shuler and also the context of being an elected member of one of the most reputable and powerful bodies in the world. I'll stop trying to compare anything I've done to what Heath is doing forthwith.
WaPo: "A former NFL quarterback, a seven-fingered farmer and a '70's rocker who posed half-naked on an old album cover began learning Monday how to be members of Congress."
"They kept saying, 'You didn't tell us it would be this hard,'" [Chuck] Schumer quipped. "This is a great group - some are liberal, some are conservative, some are moderate."
One new senator who campaigned strenuously on his opposition to the war, Jim Webb of Virginia, said he was rushing to keep up with the new demands on his schedule.
"I haven't been able to relax yet," said Webb."
"Shuler, also a Democrat, was elected from a traditionally conservative district in western North Carolina, running a moderate campaign to bring "mountain values" to the halls of Congress. He's the latest former NFL player to win a seat in Congress, following Buffalo Bills quarterback Jack Kemp and Seattle Seahawks receiver Steve Largent, both Republicans."
"Politics, however, took a back seat to procedure for most of the day, as wide-eyed rookie lawmakers seemed both excited and awed.
"From both parties, we all sort of have the same feeling: 'Wow! Is this really happening?'" said Michael Arcuri, D-N.Y."
Yes, it's really happening. You're really tasked with leading our nation out of this six-year slide into imperialism, corporatism, and violations of human rights. Those of us who phone banked for you, knocked on doors, sported bumper stickers and yard signs, and ultimately cast our votes for you are expectant. Hoping and worrying is hard work, so please start making believers out of us just as soon as you can.
Congratulations, Congressman Shuler. We're counting on you.