It's been said that whenever reformist politicians take office in Washington, the vast federal bureaucracy has a message for them: We were here when you arrived, and we'll be here when you're gone.
In other words, presidents and members of Congress should remember the real power in government lies with the millions of men and women who really run it - or, at times, don't.
One wonders whether a variation of that is crossing the minds of some managers in the Department of Veterans Affairs. We were here when the wait-list scandal broke, and we'll be hear after it's been swept under the rug and the public isn't paying attention anymore.
And why not? This isn't the first VA scandal. They've been going on for decades, and no fundamental change ever seems to occur.
VA Secretary Eric Shinseki has resigned his post over the scandal. Perhaps a few more VA officials will be forced out.
But here's the thing: I'll bet not one of those whose heads are on the chopping block ever had direct control over placing veterans on long waiting lists for health care, then altering records to make it appear the outrages never happened.
The criminals - and that's usually how we refer to people who commit fraud for financial reasons - are deeper in the agency. They're the managers who ordered subordinates to falsify records to cover up VA failures. It appears they work in several VA Medical Centers throughout the country.
Rest assured if they are not caught and punished severely, some new VA scandal will erupt in a few years.
Now, here's the thing: Some members of Congress have known about this for years. President Barack Obama's aides were told about it in 2008, before he took office.
So why wasn't something done?
Because of the bureaucracy's power.
It's time to let those folks know there is a greater power in the United States: We, the people.
Don't let them get away with it. Call, email or write your members of Congress and demand that the veterans not be let down this time. It just may work.
Because here's what the bureaucrats forget: We, the people, were here before they were - and hopefully, we'll be here when the bad apples among them are gone.
Do it. Don't shirk your duty to the vets.