534 Clowns: A Day in the Life
How entertaining it is to follow our elected government jesters in the Senate and House, and how fun it is to note the trivial administrations that they perform, all in the name of “public service”. Observe the Senate or House and their activities on any given legislative day, and savor the amusement.
Let’s observe a day on the House floor. On August 2nd, 2001, our 107th Congress held a session before its month-long summer recess. After about two-and-a-half hours of wasted collective prayer-time, pledges to Lincoln’s flag, and assorted speeches and yeas and nays, the House members got down to business.
First under consideration was a measure to amend various Acts and the Internal Revenue Code in order to provide protection for consumers in managed health care plans and other health plans. In other words, what can we, the elected protectors of the incurably ignorant masses, do for you today? What can we protect you from or what demons can we chase away for you? Do allow us to interfere in private contractual arrangements between you and your health-care providers. We, your elected representatives, can and will interfere, in spite of our original mission as per the Constitution.
After endless hours of debate on private health-care agreements, the House moved onward and upward. Further on the agenda was permission for committees to file reports. For instance, the Committee on Armed Services was to file a report on military appropriations (read: spend, spend, spend). Then, the Committee on Agriculture was to file a report on how much money to spend on agricultural subsidies — subsidies that can be deemed a criminal act looking at the original fiscal intent put forth by the Constitution.
Later on the floor came House Resolution 193 — a resolution “requesting that the President focus appropriate attention on the issues of neighborhood crime prevention, community policing, and reduction of school crime by delivering speeches, convening meetings, and directing his Administration to make reducing crime an important priority, and for other purposes.” So here we have a typical case of congressional “caring”. Let’s make sure that the President shows his concern to the nation. We have an emotional populace that must be preached to about crime in their backyard, but let’s not take any steps to actually curb crime. Just make ‘em feel good about the fact that “we care”.
Next was House Resolution 89, “mourning the death of Ron Sanders at the hands of terrorist kidnappers in Ecuador and welcoming the release from captivity of Arnie Alford, Steve Derry, Jason Weber, and David Bradley, and supporting efforts by the United States to combat such terrorism.” Ron Sanders is the American oil worker who had been kidnapped, and was later killed by an unknown rebel group. Just what we needed: more feel-goodism in the form of a House resolution. Due to American imperialism and the imposition of our form of “democracy” overseas, we are a nation hated by the rest of the world. Therefore, killing innocent Americans and inflicting terrorism upon our nation has become the result. We’re sorry this is the case, but let’s mourn it publicly so our constituency knows that we care. These guys are just so caring I can hardly stand it.
Next up was a boring resolution to reauthorize the thirty-six-year-old Appalachian Regional Development Act — essentially regional welfare. Then House Resolution 988 found its way to the floor. This had the purpose of “designating the United States courthouse located at 40 Centre Street in New York, New York, as the “Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse.” Another kowtow to the civil rights-affirmative action crowd. Let’s rename the entire infrastructure of the nation after Martin Luther King and Thurgood Marshall, and we’ll all be a nation that “gets along” Rodney King-style. Good one, guys. How about naming a railroad after Harriot Tubman?
The next Resolution-of-the-Day is a hilarity. Congressionally imposed “Awareness Weeks” are always a laugh-a-thon. House Resolution 179 “expresses the sense of Congress regarding the establishment of a National Health Center Week to raise awareness of health services provided by community, migrant, public housing, and homeless health centers.” In other words, let’s celebrate publicly-funded health care for the do-nots and the will-nots. Just thank goodness we can rape the taxpayers to fund this one under the auspices of poverty and necessary altruism. Another Awareness Week, something else the public could hardly do without. After all, Congress makes us aware of such weeks as: National Sky Awareness Week, National Sleep Awareness Week, National Work Zone Awareness Week, Black Family Technology Awareness Week, Simplify Your Life Week, Observing Infertility Awareness Week, and my favorite, Genital Integrity Awareness Week. The only thing one need be “aware” of is that this is all unnecessary and illiterate redundancy. Just another great reason to not vote.
The last resolution of this congressional exercise in idiocy was House Resolution 222, “congratulating Ukraine on the tenth anniversary of re-establishment of its independence.” Here we go with another congratulatory measure on the part of overpaid bureaucrats. Hardly substantive stuff, now is it?
It’s all symbolism over substance. These 534 clowns in the House and Senate have way too much time on their hands and way too little discernment. Many Republicans like to refer to the fact that we have a great system of government, but the problem lies in the fact that we do not elect the “right” men to office. That is, we don’t elect enough of those wonderful, well-meaning Republicans that will make our lives better. These people, however, are doomed to disappointment if they really believe that. By the way, the 535th is Representative Ron Paul, also known as Dr. No, who remains the single one guy who votes Nay as a matter of principle. Therefore, I’ve removed Mr. Paul from the distinction of buffoonery.
Let this be a reminder that we need a part-time legislature. Our Founding Fathers and colonial rebels did not intend for this type of clownery to be taking place. On the passage of Genital Integrity Awareness Week, you can bet that Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson were rolling in their graves.
Karen De Coster, CPA, [send her mail] is a freelance writer and graduate student in economics, and works as a business consultant in the Midwest.