We in this country don’t have a particularly high opinion of our largest legislative body. In some ways that makes a lot of sense. Think about all of the people in the country, and then imagine the band/food/actor/movie some of those people would pick in an election. You hate that person now, don’t you? Add in the fact that that terrible band/food/actor/movie has the ability to legally affect your life, and it’s a little surprising that Congress is managing an 11 percent approval rating.
But even if parts of Congress-people’s jobs are terrible, there must be some parts that are fulfilling and glamorous. Finally getting that bill signed into law, brokering a deal to make sure the government continues (almost) working normally, the fancy pants fundraisers. Provided, that is, that your definition of “fancy pants” includes the phrases “mind numbing” and “soul crushing.”
Say what you want about the United States, but we are good at a few things. And maybe chief among them is Coming Up with Solutions That Don’t Actually Solve the Problem and Make Everyone Miserable. A health care system where we spend more and get less? We can do that. Creating a housing system that can ruin the world’s economy while still not solving the homelessness problem? Check. Programs prove that the easiest way to solve homelessness is by giving people homes? I guess we could do that. But then what would we waste our money on? And where would we get our homeless people?
And of course, our brilliant system of funding Congressional elections. The elected officials don’t want to fundraise, average citizens feel it’s corrupting the political system, and, maybe most importantly, given the amount of time that’s put into it, it’s wildly ineffective. It’s a solution that doesn’t solve anything and makes everyone unhappy. Of all of the terrible things I believe about the two-party system, perhaps the worst is realizing the Democrats and Republicans are essentially an old, unhappily married couple. They both want out, but goddamnit, they’re not going to give the other one the satisfaction of getting to bone other people.
But thankfully, history has taught us that eventually all terrible things must come to an end. What’s depressing is how difficult it really is to learn from history. I can only imagine that when Congress collectively learned about World War I, they all thought, “Oh, yeah, I see the problem here. Trench warfare just didn’t work. Because they just dug those trenches too shallow. Let’s really dig deep, folks. It’ll totally work now.”