Congressional Republicans too selfish to govern

One of the many reasons — perhaps the biggest reason — that much of the public has lost confidence and even interest in Congress is that a shrinking number of the 535 House and Senate members bother to do their job anymore.

They are too busy posturing for political gain, posting on social media for financial gain and positioning themselves to gain an edge on election rivals.

Pretty soon, I expect some of them might steal a publicity page from Taylor Swift’s football playbook and be seen with star athletes to gain even more attention. The difference being, however, that Swift comes to work when she takes the stage, while many members of Congress simply take the stage.

It has been painful to watch the U.S. House, where a mini-minority of eight members, representing about 2% of the chamber and 2% of American voters, essentially fired the speaker of the House, creating turmoil, uncertainty, animosity and confusion in governing the country.

If a space traveler landed on the Capitol steps and asked a visitor guide at the U.S. House, “Take me to your leader,” the guide might answer, “When you find one, let me know.”

A leaderless, disorganized, divided House is not what the country needs.

Not when inflation is still too high; affordable housing too tight; homelessness too prevalent; a college education too expensive; health care too costly, even with insurance; workers in far too short of supply; guns and drugs and deaths from both much too common; attacks on personal freedom too numerous; and real leaders too few and very far between.

Those are the jobs that members of Congress are paid to work. Instead, too many would rather play at work.

Making a mess of the U.S. House is not in the best interests of Americans who are right to worry whether the government will shut down Nov. 17, which is the next deadline for Congress to approve some form of a spending bill to ensure that public services continue, members of the military get paid and federal offices don’t close.

The staunchly publicity-hungry conservative mini-minority effectively controls the Republican House majority, who cannot do anything without the votes of their cranky colleagues. The anti-most-everything-about-government group is willing — even eager — to take hostages to win their arguments. Maybe their long Pinocchio noses are getting in the way from telling too many lies, but they seem to have lost sight that the hostages are not other members of Congress but rather 340 million Americans.

They also have lost sight that while they were elected to represent their district, their job is to serve the nation.

Risking a shutdown of federal services, jeopardizing people’s jobs and families and national and global security to score political points and social media clicks is selfish. It’s irresponsible, and it’s too early for Halloween tricks.

It would be a treat if the House mini-minority and their supporters could accept that they don’t rule Congress or the nation.

America is a country where the majority rules, though admittedly not always well or fairly, and the minority can object, attempt to amend, talk all day and night and lobby and buttonhole and cajole and whatever else they can legally do to make their point. But at some point, a 2% mini-minority needs to let the other 98% run government, provide public services and do their job.

If not, the 2% should get another job. One where they are paid for being selfish, not productive.

 

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