Another idea I've had for solving the corruption problem in Washington is to move the Senate, the House and the president and vice president to Fargo, N.D.
The rest of the bureaucrats could stay in Washington. They would probably benefit from having some distance between them and the politicians, many of whom believe the only purpose of the federal government is to provide jobs and pork-barrel projects for their constituents.
We could build a simple meetinghouse for the legislative branches. I would recommend large Quonset huts with small offices for the members. We could also build barracks for the members and their staffs to live in while Congress was in session.
As part of the Great Relocation Act, we must stipulate that Congress convene on Oct. 1 and conclude all of its business no later than March 31. Any lobbyist who wished to venture to Fargo would have to find his own motel room, his own mad aviator hat and his own snowshoes.
As for the president and vice president, they could be housed in a modest home purchased on the market. I suspect you can get some good real-estate buys in Fargo. It's not one of those places being besieged by tourists and retirees.
In Fargo, free from the temptations of Imperial Washington — with all of its plush accommodations, fancy restaurants and hordes of sycophants and lobbyists — Congress might actually settle down and do some work. It never, by the way, completes its work on time in Washington.
It would also be satisfying just to see the politicians, the vast majority of whom are chicken hawks who avoided military service like the plague, live in conditions at least somewhat similar to those they force upon the military around the world. Moreover, Fargo, which is on the border of Minnesota, is a solid blue-collar city of 75,000 people used to hard work. They would be a far better influence on our public legislators than the rich lawyers and lobbyists who inhabit Washington.
As for communication, well, don't we have Bill Gates' word for it that in this new era of high-tech, people can communicate from anywhere to anywhere?
No need to worry about the Library of Congress, because the politicians don't use it anyway. There is a university in Fargo, so if some politician's mind was suddenly pricked by curiosity, he could snowshoe over to the university and ask a professor.
While I'm sure the relocation would benefit America as a whole, I'm not sure the people of Fargo would welcome the riffraff we have elected to the House, the Senate and the White House. I believe, however, it is the patriotic duty of Americans to share the burden of living with the political riffraff. If things didn't work out in Fargo, we could move them to Butte, Mont. I believe that is the place J. Edgar Hoover used to exile FBI agents who had incurred his disfavor.
Washington has come to resemble Rome — not the Rome of the Republic, which the Founding Fathers admired, but the Imperial Rome, the Rome of Caesars — full of perpetual wars, inflation, circuses, money-changers, lies and corruption. Consequently, too many of our federal officials have lost contact with the real America they are supposed to represent.
In all seriousness, it would be beneficial to get the government out of Washington. Anywhere would do as long as it's isolated, very cold and Walden Pondish in its attractions. I suspect some of our federal politicians have never even seen grass that wasn't on a lawn or a golf course. Brisk, clean air might even clear their heads. Bitterly cold winter nights are very conducive to contemplation.
Who knows? Such isolation and relative hardships might even produce a statesman or two. Now, that would be an accomplishment. We haven't had one of those in several generations.
January 30, 2006
Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years.
© 2006 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.