Today, I saw the following, retweeted by someone I follow on twitter:
Congress men and women should be forced to live one day in a common person’s shoes. Perhaps then we’d see real change.1
It’s one of those things I read and thought, “Yeah! Power to the common folk!” This often happens when I read stuff on the internet. It sounds good at first and I get a little riled up about it. But then it got me thinking, which of course is always a little scary.
Here’s what I think would really happen if congresspeople were forced to live one day as a “common” person. At the end of that one day, they’d all meet at a bar; get completely shitfaced; and talk about how much that sucked ass and how they’re really happy that, assuming all goes well and they avoid career-destroying scandal, they’ll never have to do that shit again.
I strongly believe that the powers that be in U.S. government are so outside the reality sphere of everyday citizens that even trying to be like us for a day (or longer) would have no real effect on them. I also strongly believe that my dad, of all people, a retired engineer in suburban Chicago, has known the solution to this problem for at least the last 25 years.
My dad is awesome. He has the kind of biting, dry sense of humor, I guess you could call it, that I love and try to emulate. Some of his favorite phrases when I was growing up were:
- If you had a brain, you’d be dangerous.
- Why don’t you go play far far away?
In reaction to my hair (which was kind of crazy back in the day), his comment was always that I should “shave it to the bone and give it a new start.”2
That right there is exactly what we need to do with politics: Shave it to the bone and give it a new start.
Everybody who is in politics right now should be kicked out. To make it easy, we can start with the U.S. Congress. Get rid of ’em. (“Get rid of ’em” was my dad’s facetious position about the dog.) We’ll elect all new senators and representatives who have to campaign on my spending-fast wedding budget ($30). Each person elected will take home an annual salary equal to the average income of his or her home state. They’re not allowed to receive any additional money or compensation/benefits in any format whatsoever from anyone. (I’m sure this would be hard to monitor, but with all the money we’d be saving, maybe we could find a way.)
I’m (obviously!) no great political thinker by any means, but doesn’t this make sense? Even if your political views are the opposite of mine,3 do you disagree with my shave-it-to-the-bone position?
1. Jennifer Perillo tweet (it appears as white text on white background, so highlight to read).
2. Please don’t interpret any of these dadisms as being harsh. They were always said with love and humor and I always thought they were hilarious, even when I was a kid. I suspect this is why, to this day, if I like you and you’re on my weird humor wavelength, I’ll probably call you an obovate prostitute from time to time. (I’m a new Words With Friends player and no, that is not the correct usage of “obovate,” unless, I suppose, you’re a prostitute with a very odd body shape and you broadly define “stalk.”)
3. Hippie Liberal.