John Seiberling: Thank you

Retired congressman John Seiberling died Saturday. But what he accomplished for us in Northeast Ohio and throughout the nation will live forever. Seiberling served 16 years in Congress, representing Akron. He was an environmentalist before going green became cool — and politically correct.

And as U.S. Representative Ralph Regula said in an Akron Beacon Journal story this morning: “Without John Seiberling there would be no Cuyahoga Valley National Park.”

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park really is one of this region’s treasures. So for all of us who run, bike, hike, whatever there — thank you, John Seiberling.

By the way, I knew Mr. Seiberling very informally. He lived in the same condo complex in Copley Township that I do. He was really in poor health the past few years. Still, he always had time to say hello and chat for a minute or two.

So there is John Seiberling — described by the Akron Beacon Journal correctly as “An American hero.”

Then there is Congress as we know it today.

An article in Parade magazine, also in the Akron Beacon Journal this morning, asks “Why is Congress Doing So Little?”

According to the article, the current Congress has enacted less legislation than any within the last decade. It has enacted just 260 laws — 74 of those were to rename post offices. Hmm.

But the members of Congress aren’t just sitting in Washington on their collective thumbs. Parade says they have passed hundreds of resolutions “including one to recognize soil as an essential resource and to congratulate the UC-Irvine volleyball team.”

And according the the article, Rep. John Shimkus (R., Ill.) introduced a resolution to recognize June 30 as National Corvette day.

“It’s probably not the best use of our time,” he says,”but we have to do something. These resolutions make it look like we’re working.”

I challenge you to find a more compelling call to public service than that statement.

Maybe we need more John Seiberlings.

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