-By Warner Todd Huston
In one of those “it’s gotten so bad that…” stories, McClatchy’s James Rosen reported today that Congress is so rife with partisan warfare that they can no longer even agree to sign onto each other’s harmless resolutions that celebrate sports teams for one success or another.
“The once-routine resolutions honoring hometown squads or stars sailed through Congress for years with nary a discordant note or vote — but no more,” Rosen gravely wrote.
Rosen went on to reveal that our elected officials are finding resistance to their once easily passed resolutions meant to honor local, hometown sports teams in both the House and the Senate.
So what is going on?
A small but growing number of lawmakers say that successful athletes get plenty of accolades outside Washington — and that bills celebrating them waste precious time in Congress.
“We need to raise the bar and start doing serious work around here,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a freshman Utah Republican, said last week during a contentious House of Representatives floor debate on two commemorative sports measures.
“I don’t care if it’s a Democrat, I don’t care if it’s a Republican (who sponsors such legislation), if it’s in the world of sports, they get enough recognition,” Chaffetz said. “We’ve got important business. We have troops that are in harm’s way. We have not brought up a budget resolution to discuss the outrageous debt and deficit that we’re suffering through.”
Is this evidence of the end of civility in the halls of Congress?
Maybe. But it could also be evidence of just what Rep. Chaffetz said: a desire to get serious in Washington. I am sympathetic to the idea that these annoying and pointless non-binding resolutions are a complete waste of time. While our elected officials waste time with such nonsense, real business is being delayed.
On the other hand, while our elected officials are wasting their time on these pointless and idiotic resolutions… real business is being delayed!
There’s a lot to be said for the idea that the less Congress does, the better it is for all of us.
After all, as Will Rogers once said of our politicians, “Never blame a legislative body for not doing something. When they do nothing, they don’t hurt anybody. When they do something is when they become dangerous.” Who can’t be wryly sympathetic to this sentiment?
So perhaps it is a bad thing that Congress is making these idiotic resolutions harder to pass and perhaps this difficulty might tend to limit them from being so easily offered for consideration leaving more time for real business. Perhaps that might be true. And it’s probably a good thing to have less such foolishness in those hallowed halls.
This whole sports nonsense really is a waste of time, so in the end we must logically assume the stance that finding a Congress more interested in the real business of legislating is the right one.
But there’s just that nagging feeling that we might just rather they waste time instead, nonetheless.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, BigHollywood.com, and BigJournalism.com, as well as RightWingNews.com, CanadaFreePress.com, StoptheACLU.com, AmericanDailyReview.com, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.
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