Dear Congress…

Dear Congress…

Dear Congress, we’re breaking up. We’re through. It’s over. Don’t call, don’t write, don’t even try and buy me a heart-shaped box this Valentine’s day. We’re done. This isn’t the typical George Costanza breakup, where it’s not you, it’s me. It’s all you. It is completely, unquestionably, 100 percent your fault. What lead to this, you ask? Just your dereliction of duty. Unlike Bill Pullman, in the sentimental 90s romantic comedy, While You Were Sleeping, I have awoken from my coma, and discovered that you are not in fact Sandra Bullock, and that I am not in fact in love with you. My rationale for these new found feelings;

 

  • Your pithy approval rating hovers around 13 percent. This means that many in your own families do not approve of your performance. To put this approval rating in context, when Richard Nixon was impeached in August of 1974, his approval rating was above 20 percent. To fall below the Nixon line takes a true dedication to indolence.

 

  • Your unparalleled level of deplorable productivity, which puts you in the pampered “Real Housewives” of some terrible city category. Case in point, during the first session of the 113th Congress, you passed 65 laws, which is on pace to shatter the record for “least productive” Congress in history. For more perspective, the 112th Congress, the reigning title holder for lack of productivity, passed a measly 283 laws from 2011-12. If the 113th falls short of that mark, it will be a dismal record that will last like Wilt Chamberlin’s 100 point game.

 

  • Your failure to repeal any laws, which has been a fixed talking point of the Speaker’s agenda. According to Speaker Boehner, “We should not be judged on how many new laws we create, we ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal.” Bowing to your own advice, it appears you have failed, because you have not repealed a single law.

 

  • Your absurd amount of schedule time “out of session,” which again rivals that of every terrible reality show with housewives in the name. In 2013, the House scheduled themselves 239 days off in the calendar year. That’s nearly 8 months off. Jeez, sounds like a rough life.

 

  • Your unwavering commitment to stuffing your own campaign coffers. Listen Al Franken, I don’t live in Minnesota, I don’t know anyone in the land o’ lakes, I am not going to donate any money, and I don’t think that you are really fighting to repeal Citizens United every single day. With that said, stop soliciting money from me on a daily basis, I am a poor, law school student in San Diego. I don’t live in your district, I can’t vote for you and I have no money. Quit asking for money.

 

  • Your holding the government hostage for “political reasons.” The Shutdown in October cost the country, and its taxpayers, $24 billion. This is a detestable waste of money that should have never occurred.

 

  • Your extensive abuse of the filibuster. The 110th (Most use of the filibuster in Congressional history), 111th (2nd most) and 112th (3rd most) has created a debilitating pattern of blocking the executive branch from utilizing the power of appointment. It appears the most significant accomplishment in recent Congressional history is the blocking the executive branch from doing anything. Good thing the impact is that it keeps positions unfilled, which makes for an inefficient government, and ultimately costs taxpayers.

 

  • Your blatant exploitation of the crisis (the Shutdown) in order to mobilize your position. Being able to exploit the reality of a situation you created, in order to benefit your political party and place responsibility on someone else, takes some serious asshole-esque courage. In the first six days of the shutdown, Congressional Democrats utilized the Shutdown to raise $2 million online. Apparently they were too busy to restart the government when fundraising “needed” to be done.  Hypothetically this would be like a financial institution who in the time of a crisis, let’s call the year 2008, continues to use predatory lending tactics, despite the fact that these tactics have contributed to the overall financial crisis. Then, that institution blatantly utilizes their employees, many of whom are set to be downsized, in order to promote a public relations campaign to “counter criticism that its lending practices are to blame for a surge in foreclosures.” (See Countrywide Financial). After all there is no need to pass legislation when a good PR campaign will suffice.
  • Finally your disrespectful ability to continue taking a salary during the government shutdown. While nearly half Congress refused to take their salary, certain members’ levels of greed could not be moved. Take for instance Senator Charles E. Grassley (R-IA), who claimed that “I’m working. Everybody that works gets paid for working.” First, working is very subjective in this context. I would argue that Grassley wasn’t working during the Shutdown. Secondly, many government employees subjected to the shutdown were actually working. Those deemed non-essential were not paid until after shutdown was over. In terms of non-essential, I think Congressional salaries should be deemed non-essential until unemployment dips below 4 percent.

 

  • And countless other reasons…

 

Listen, don’t come home. You can’t sleep on the couch. Your deadbeat relatives won’t show weakness and let you crash at their place. After this breakup, there is one place you need to be; from dawn until dusk, every single day, you should be in DC. Try and distance yourself from the standard you’ve created. Think of yourself as Snooki from the Jersey Shore, it only takes a little bit of action to be “better” than the old Snooki. To be better than the 112th Congress (worst ever) it really doesn’t take much. Now do something!

 

As for me, don’t worry, I’m planning on taking my new found “single” status to either Christian Mingle or farmersonly.com, because lord knows I couldn’t do any worse there.

 

Brody Burns

 

 

  1. Congressional Approval Rating – http://www.nationaljournal.com/congress/hey-congress-how-low-can-your-approval-rating-go-20140114
  2. Congressional Productivity/days off – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/23/congress-2013_n_4479851.html
  3.  Repeal 0 laws – http://www.policymic.com/articles/72613/pissed-off-at-congress-now-you-have-someone-to-blame
  4. History of filibuster, http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/brookings-now/posts/2013/11/chart-recent-history-of-senate-cloture-votes-to-end-filibuster.
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