October 6, 2006

Congress: The good, the bad, and the ugly

When I was a little boy, I turned to my father at dinner one night and innocently inquired, “Dad, why don’t you run for president?” Now, to me, that first Bush guy seemed like a bit of a joker, or at least incredibly, incredibly boring. And my dad is kind of funny. So I figured my father was a natural fit for the position.

“Because, Ryan, all politicians have a mental sickness. It’s what you need in order to be a good politician.”


“Yep. Just like your mother.”



“Every single one?”

“No exception.”

For me, this promptly became one of those offhanded remarks that lurks in the back of my head for the rest of my life. For example, I still can’t shake the belief that the only reason I couldn’t jump into the TV to join the Ninja Turtles and fight Shredder was that my mom lost the key. I’m still kind of bitter.

Similarly, I have always found it hard to rid myself of the image of diseased politicians, and the last few weeks have certainly not made it any easier to do so. I actually find it hard to place Mark Foley in the “diseased politicians” category. An avid reader of Plato’s Symposium, Foley is diseased in the more clinical sense, which makes him easy to dismiss. It is not Foley that interests me, but rather everyone else involved in this party crash of Hindenburg proportions.

Attempting to seize a moral high ground amidst a choking torrent of bad press, our own Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., has proposed establishing a Congressional “page hotline” to ensure that there is an anonymous outlet for pages who have been inappropriately pursued by lustful….U.S. Congressmen? I mean, one bad egg is fine, as there have been worse eggs before him: Ted Kennedy killed a prostitute, and Bill Clinton got oral sex, stained a dress (gasp), and then refused to kiss and tell to the 300 million citizens to whom he answers.

But now we must fear that all of our esteemed senators and representatives will spend their ample free time running around chasing little boys? So dangerous are the halls of Congress for fresh-faced teenaged boys that an entire system must be legislated into existence to protect them? In regular American society, we have no such hotline for rape victims, the sexually harassed, or even altar boys. But for congressional pages? Should we establish an anonymous help center for Supreme Court clerks as well? Use video-monitoring during office hours here on campus?

Then, of course, there is Hastert, also from the great prairies of Illinois, who claims that party officials didn’t act on the knowledge of Foley’s advances because they didn’t want to appear “homophobic.” There’s Tom DeLay, who really just made a career of lying and is still popular for it. There’s George Allen, who really, really, really loves pork and really, really, really wants you to know that, lest he humiliate himself in the public eye by appearing to be the least bit inclined for a good brisket and matzo ball soup. Our own president has no poker face (and boy does he need one). Supposed “maverick” Arlen Specter follows a tired script of loud protest followed by docile acceptance, and his cohort Rick Santorum is surely on some sort of narcotics. And of course, getting back to Foley, we have a guy who spends his legislative life trying to prevent sexual abuse of minors, all while trying to schtoop little boys who work for him. Ladies and gentlemen, the crème de la crème of the greatest country in the world…

My dad may indeed have made an excellent observation, but it just didn’t quite go far enough. Yes, our politicians are diseased, but he failed to address the reasons why. As such, I, just like our own favorite political cowboy, will attempt to finish what my dad has started.

To sum up our discussion, then, we have, representing the democratic populace of the U.S., sexual predators, ignorant fools, non-ignorant fools, mid-life identity crisis victims, cowboys, cocaine addicts, Jews, homosexuals, homosexual governors of New Jersey, racists, draft-dodgers, sleazy backdoor operators, hammers, terminators, people who like sex, mafiosos, bad liars, total frauds, religious fanatics, greedy businessmen, murderers cum drunks, and Barack Obama.

Does this system work or what?