The “bridge to nowhere” has become a metaphor for wastefulness and needless expenditure, both in terms of effort and resources. It is a phrase in politics which has become overused and bandied about for political gain, attack ads and undermining of an opponent’s credibility. As a political tool, in its very repetitiveness of its incessant utilization and reactive assignation against opponents, it has lost its efficacy. Yet, in a very real sense — while the phrase itself may have become conceptually emptied of meaning — the foundation of what it represents still applies, and is relevant in all walks of life.
Thus, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the Federal or Postal employee contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits must create a “bridge”, or a “nexus”, between one’s medical condition(s) and the positional duties of one’s job.
The underlying and inherent self-contradiction in the phrase itself is fascinating, if one pauses to reflect: a “bridge” by definition” is intended to connect two or more points — from A to B, to perhaps other destinations. Yet, because a “bridge to nowhere” fails in its very definitional inception by only going from point A to … (?), as such, it undermines its own definition and purpose. It is not a bridge. The “nowhere” destroys the conceptual integrity of the “bridge“, and therefore the phrase itself is a conceptual conundrum of nonsense. In order to regain its conceptual identity, one must go back to the foundational purpose of what a thing “is”, in order to regain what it must become and why it has lost its identity. As in most things in life, we must go back to Aristotle’s “first principles”.
In Federal Disability Retirement, one needs to go back to what the question is that is being asked on Standard Form 3112A, its purpose, its directive focus, and why it is that the Office of Personnel Management is asking the question. Only then can one begin to effectively formulate the bridge between one’s medical conditions, and the impact upon one’s positional duties, whether as a Federal employee or a Postal worker.
In a Federal Disability Retirement case, the “bridge to nowhere” will result in a denial of a Federal Disability Retirement application. The bridge must begin from a point of relevance, and end in its intended destination.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire
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