[Update 20 January 2022, 7pm: Senator Sefzik reached out to me in an email early today and as a result I spent 20 minutes on a Zoom call with him during which he extended his apology for his comment regarding the military in his letter to the Whatcom County Council. I believe he understands the rationale for my having called him out and I told him I accepted the apology. He was definitive in his realization that civilian service as he experienced it is not comparable to military service. We continued our friendly conversation after that and agreed to meet once the legislative session is over to discuss other issues of mutual interest. I consider the issue closed and look forward to talking with him at length at a later date. ]
You have received many congratulatory communications since the Whatcom County Council elected you as the replacement for the late State Senator Doug Ericksen. I joined with them in congratulating you. However, after reading your submissions to the County Council and watching your oral statement before the council members, I am compelled to object to an egregious comparison you made within your declarations.
You stated in a letter to the council:
“I was hired full-time and became one of the youngest White House employees during my service. Just like millions of military members that [sic] served during the previous administration, my goal was to honor my country in the best way that I could, regardless of who was president.”
I was stunned by this comparison of your time in Washington, DC with the service of millions in the military, a statement that rings false and is insulting to our armed forces and our veterans. Telling the citizens of Whatcom County that your government employment in an office in Washington, DC somehow rises to the same level of service as that of young men and women, your age, who actually joined the military, and potentially, then actually, put their lives on the line is a false equivalency (note the photo above). These men and women serve around the world, some in the most miserable climates and under great stresses. Their families bear the brunt of frequent moves and suffer their absence during deployments to hostile fire zones. They work night and day, remaining on duty 365 days a year so that you and your family can sleep in peace. They bear arms, obligated to use some of the most terrible engines of war, so that you do not have to. They sweat and freeze and vomit and bleed, but not necessarily in combat as training is brutal and perpetual, even in peace time.
I, too, worked “in the White House” (The Office of the Vice President’s National Partnership for Reinventing Government) and I can assure you that it was not even minimally comparable to my 13 years of military service, especially my time in Viet Nam.
Your statement necessitates a retraction and an apology to all those currently serving in the military as well as veterans who have completed their service.
I will willingly print it as an update to this article.
Comments by Readers
Shawn AlexanderJan 19, 2022
Thank you for bring this to the forefront.
David OnkelsJan 19, 2022
Since you’re finding insult by picking nits, I have one to pick with you. Sefzik’s language was inartful, but he didn’t compare his service to theirs: He compared his goal to theirs. Good luck with your recovery.
Thomas R. ScottJan 19, 2022
This sounds like a discussion to be taken aside. It looks like a misunderstanding to me. I hesitate to comment, except I’m seeing three individuals who all seem to have good intent and who might otherwise get along if this were not boiling hotter and hotter.
That Mr. Serfzik used “that” instead of “who” speaks more to education or a slip than intent on his part. Unfortunately, it is an all too common mistake.
Reading between the lines, I charitably read him saying that he tried and will try to honor those who risked all for their country by him serving his country in this comparatively small way.
Mr. Onkels, maybe a more politic and appropriate approach might have served you better. You had what I believed was a valid point regarding Mr. Sefzik’s intent then finished in a rather ill tempered patronizing manner.
David A. SwansonJan 19, 2022
I have difficulting locating Mr. Sefzik in the picture with millions of military members who served during the previous administration. It must be the Ghillie suit he got at Amazon.
Nicholas SotakJan 19, 2022
Intentional or not, the first thing that comes to mind when I read that quote is: He served in the military.
Mike RostronJan 19, 2022
He’s very young for such a high profile position. If he wants to be a successful politician, he’ll have to learn to be more “politic” in his public utterances. Statesmanship is always a rarity in any age or political party, and I long ago lost any hope of seeing that from the Republican party.
Bert RubashJan 19, 2022
Not to mention those of us who were joined into the military during the Vietnam War who are also offended with conflating “serving” in the White House with military duty.
Jon HumphreyJan 19, 2022
Trevor Noah did a piece on “almost veterans” like Sefzik who try to steal credibility from real veterans without having to do the hard part of serving. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWr9vQP-D70
Seffy my lad, you and I can only imagine the sacrifices people in the military have made for our country. I have seen loved ones go off to war only to return, scarred by it for the rest of their lives, to a country that often does not treat them with the respect they deserve.
This is the lesson to learn here Seffy. That hard-working, often poor, people join the military and do the hardest work for our country, not sit behind an ass-kissing station in DC pushing a pencil like you did and making sure that the corrupt politicians that use them are comfortable. They literally pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, often so hard that they break, because the people you worked for endeavor to make their lives harder everyday to pay off the virtually worthless top 5% you admire so much. You want to see someone to actually admire. Look no further than Dick Conboy.
So sorry Seffy, but you’ll have to get respect the old fashioned way, by earning it, not stealing it from better men and women in the military. You and many of our elected officials seem to have forgotten that.
Here’s another tip Seffy my lad. Step one to showing that you are a real man, worthy of respect, would be to apologize as Dick has suggested. Step two would be to do more for veterans. Step three would be to think before opening your mouth more often. Step four would be to earn some real credibility by using your new position to fight corruption and actually make life better for your constituents. You know, to preserve the way of life our brave men and women in the armed forces fight and sacrafice to protect before we finally descend into a totally corporate run dictatorship.
Liz MarshallJan 20, 2022
Right on, Mr. Conoby and respectful commenters.
David A. SwansonJan 20, 2022
Nice apology, Mr. Sefzik. You did the right thing, an unusual act in this day and age.
Nicholas SotakJan 21, 2022
Unusual indeed. Whether or not I agree with him on issues remains to be seen, but apologizing seems like one hundred eighty degrees from what is typical in the new GOP. Give credit where it’s due, and he deserves some here.