Make fly-fishing mandatory for elected officials

Two weeks ago, I followed my usual morning routine. I put the coffee on, let the dog out, turned on the news ... and then got sick to my stomach. It was Inauguration Day.

I instantly turned it off and contemplated going back to bed. But the dog wanted back in, and the coffee was ready. So I turned the TV back on, promised myself I wouldnít throw up and proceeded to watch the president and vice president take their oaths of office.

They were surrounded by members of a Congress that has done a good job of being indistinguishable from old furniture bolted to the floor and impossible to move.

After the swearing in, I listened to President Barack Obama do a great job of reading a speech his writers had penned for him. So far, I still hadnít deposited my coffee on the floor.

Then it came to me that this wasnít a day for just the current administration. Nope, Inauguration Day is a day of celebration for every American. It proves that no matter how stupid I might think the current administration and Congress are (both parties), there will be another election and a peaceful hand-over. Wow, I feel better.

Now working on my second pot of coffee, I began to formulate a way to get the next group of federally elected officials (FEOs) to do a better job than the current crop of do-notheners. Needless to say, fly-fishing is the answer.

For this to work, all FEOs will have to learn how to fly-fish. Because this will be for the health of the country, I envision Obamacare picking up the tab. Once all FEOs have learned to fly-fish, time will have to be made for them to practice their new sport. That shouldnít be a problem because Congressí idea of a work week is three days.

Youíre probably saying to yourself, FEOs now know how to fly-fish, so what? Well, hereís where all FEOs actually learn a little something from the voters. Instead of taking polls to find out what anyone with an iota of common sense knows, the FEOs will have to spend two of their four days off fly-fishing with one or two of their constituency.

Imagine an FEO coming to Durango and spending two days fly-fishing with a soldier who is part of the Warriors and Quiet Waters program. The FEO would be required to stand beside this young soldier and fly-fish with him or her for an eight-hour day. Iím sure the topic of how the Veterans Administration hasnít got enough money or time to really help this person who has been severely injured by a roadside bomb will emerge.

Another good idea would be for an FEO to spend a day buddy-fishing with the owner of a small fly shop. I would like to hear the conversation as the FEO gets an understanding of how all the laws and regulations are putting this person, and his 10 employees, out of business.

It shouldnít be a day just for voters to bend the ears of the FEOs. We, as fly-fishermen, also need to listen to our elected officials. Iím sure those folks have some ideas about how we as voters can do more than yell when talking to FEOs.

I know this is all a fantasy. But it sure would be fun to see all FEOs stringing up the mandatory travel fly rod for a day of buddy-fishing.

At least in this country, where inauguration days are peaceful and fun, hope will always spring eternal.

Reach Don Oliver at