|The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by Josh Nossiter
|Good Reps, Bad Raps
Thursday, June 29th, 2006
|The Nossiter Net is cast to snare some of the riper rascalities of the day. Comments? firstname.lastname@example.org|
|According to H.L. Mencken, Congress consists of one-third scoundrels, two-thirds idiots, and three-thirds poltroons. This is quantitatively correct; mathematically inclined readers will note that the formula sums to two, reflecting the bi-cameral nature of our legislative branch. As for Menckenís qualitative judgement of our legislators, it is of course the inverse of the truth. There is simply no finer body of men and women than that found in the U.S. Congress.
Take their stand on global warming. Congress refuses to be intimidated by the fake scientists employed by the administration, who in the face of all evidence to the contrary insist that the tons of pollutants we dump into the air, water, and land every second of every day have nothing to do with climate change. Sidestepping the executive branch bullies, our clever legislators, led by the likes of Senators Frist and Clinton, have focused on a single source of pollution, going so far as to propose a constitutional amendment to outlaw it.
The average U.S. flag contains a host of chemical dyes, along with petroleum based products like nylon. When heated, these ingredients produce toxic gases dangerous both to the environment and those who inhabit it. Congressís proposed constitutional ban on flag burning, mocked by the knee-jerk deriders of the left as shameless political posturing, is in fact a cleverly disguised stealth environmental bill, designed to sneak sound anti-pollution policy past the anti-environmentalist ideologues of the Bush administration. Visionary in scope and remarkably shrewd in execution, the flag burning ban represents Congress operating at its very highest level, although members of Congress are getting no credit for it. Blame an uncomprehending citizenry, and also the modesty and humility of the members themselves, who are always reluctant to toot their own horns.
The legislative branchís concern for the voter doesnít stop with the environment. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for each thousand U.S. citizens there are about eight marriages and four divorces every year.* Great news for the nationís practitioners of family law, not so good for everybody else. Thatís why Congress, in its thoughtful and practical way, wants to do what it can to prevent the divorce rate from rising to still more alarming heights.
An estimated four to five percent of U.S. citizens are gay. This fraction of the population has not hitherto been allowed to marry, at least each other, thereby staying out of both the marriage and divorce statistics. Should that prohibition be lifted, the overall national divorce rate would, statistically inevitably, rise.
Though often painted as a mean-spirited, bigoted act of political pandering to the crazed religious right, the gay marriage ban is another example of Congress doing its level best to benefit the voter. The constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, sponsored by leaders like Speaker Hastert, is merely a pragmatic, though deeply misunderstood, mechanism on the part of Congress to keep the divorce rate down.
Of course fair-minded voters reject Menckenís characterization of Congress. The most cursory examination of the words and deeds of such fine men as Frist, Hastert, or N.Y. Senator Clinton proves him wrong. Though often accused of lining their pockets or furthering their ambitions at the expense of the public good, congressional leaders are the first to say that they have only your best interests at heart.
Voters can bank on the contributions to the common weal made by their elected representatives. Representatives in turn take their voter contributions straight to the bank. Our founders created a system of checks and balances that has evolved to the point where voter checks fatten the bank balances of a bunch of fatheads. Is this a great country, or what?
©Joshua C. Nossiter, 2006
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