I wrote this about a year ago and after the fiasco that we have endured during this long and all too painful year think that it is time to revisit the topic. Since I have been rather morose of late I figure that this should break things up a bit.
I don’t know about you but as a passionate moderate I am fed up with the nasty politics as usual that is killing our country. Our political ruling class appears to be hell bent on destroying the country all to satisfy their respective need for power and to satisfy the basest wants of their most strident supporters. The corruption and malevolence of the career politicians on both sides of the aisle have bankrupted the country, cost American lives in war, cost American jobs, destroyed our manufacturing base, placed the interests of financial traders who produce nothing except promote the evil practice of usury because it makes them money which they in turn contribute copious amounts of said money to their political patrons. Then to top it all off they pass laws that make no sense and that you have to have an army of lawyers to understand. They are out of touch with the everyday concerns of real Americans and have done their best to destroy the fabric of our society in their quest for power and they are many times an unseemly lot who do things that regular people could never get away with. The number of ethics violations, criminal charges and convictions and resignations due to shady financial dealings, backroom deals, sexual scandals and sometimes rather nasty criminal cases are too numerous to catalogue unless you are Matt Drudge. I won’t list them here but they include notable Democrats as well as Republicans, nor will I go into all the idiotic things that our government, both Democrat and Republican controlled administrations or congresses have done as the task would be ginormous. Since we all get spun up about different issues usually in tune with our own political or social viewpoints I leave it to you my readers to fill in the blanks and comment on what you think they are screwing up.
Part of the problem is that our political ruling class, the Federal Government particular is completely out of touch because they live in the netherworld ofWashingtonD.C. This city has become the symbol of all that ails the country and since our political class only leaves it to raise money for their next campaigns they have no earthly clue of what the rest of us are experiencing. Thus they can coddle up to their big financial supporters and most demented party extremists and unseemly lobbyists representing some of the vilest elements of our society. As a result for at least the past 10 years and I am sure a lot more they have for the most part forgotten the people that they are supposed to represent. The political class doesn’t live in our world, thus they do everything that they can not to look at what is best for the country but rather what is best for them, for their party, their supporters and their agendas. If you ask me its all out of whack and they really all should be whacked.
Since they all spend far too much time inWashingtonor raising money to stay there it is high time that they get out of Dodge so to speak. This is my idea of how we fix this situation. My suggestion is definitely not politics as usual. Instead it is based on relationships built from shared suffering and since we are suffering why shouldn’t they suffer too? So here’s my idea. First we shut down the government for a month. Now before you think that you won’t get what the government owes you I don’t mean the people that actually do the work. What I mean is both houses of Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court. We shut them down. Let the clerks of the court do their thing, let the White House staff do its job and congressional aides deal with constituents. Give the Russians and Chinese, the Iranians, Al Qaida, the European Union and everyone else a message that we’re busy the next month so don’t bother us. We’ll tell them that if they mind their own business that our stand ins with itchy fingers won’t nuke them. where is Al Haig when you need him the most? Hey MAD (mutual assured destruction) worked during the Cold War, after all nothing like an ICBM loaded with multiple nuclear warheads to keep people in line and not do anything really stupid.
So do you hear me Mahmoud and Osama? Do you hear me? All that would come between you and nuclear annihilation are a few disgruntled civil servants with road rage that just got to work after being stuck in Beltway traffic for 3 hours. Go ahead make our day.
Once we shut the place down we put all of these guys and gals on Greyhound buses packed to the gills. Each bus would have a mix of members of each party really making sure those that hate each other most sit next to each other. Secret Service and FBI agents on the buses would have the option to Taser anyone that tries to switch seats. Then we drive them all to some big assed dude ranch inMontana, outfit them in silly looking cowboy clothes with boots that are a bit too tight and leave them there in the charge of a bunch of cowboys at least two of which have had a recent “BrokebackMountain” experience.
They would have no cell phones, computers or communications with the outside world or even their minions back in D.C., nope, just them and Mother Nature sharing the experience of high plains living. In fact to liven the place up we need to bring a few folks back into the mix, some former Presidents and Speakers of the House would do fine. Also the addition of the most strident Cable TV and radio talking heads and commentators would be good too, but I digress, too many extras might spoil the moment. Maybe we should have a separate sleepover of Rush Limbaugh and Maureen Dowd or Sean Hannity and Keith Olberman later? No, we’ll throw them into this one to make it more fun.
This dude ranch living would be a bit Spartan. Since most of these folks a Spartan way is driving in a luxury car or SUV, having to fly First Class, staying in a luxury suite or eating at a 4 star restaurant they might have a hard time with what I propose but that would just be tough. They made this mess and by God we’re going to get them back in touch with the real world and in the process get them to build real relationships with each other instead of the artificial life that they have led inside the beltway for years.
Once we get them to the big assed Dude Ranch we pair them up the best we can with a liberal and a conservative in each cabin. We would try to keep the cabins of the same gender not to cause too much scandal but would make a few exceptions to that rule. Now by cabins I don’t mean those really nice cabins that people take real vacations at, no I mean really rustic, Spartan tiny cabins with no amenities and only one bed, a full sized bed that our new roommates would need to share. The cabins would have no couches, easy chairs or love seats, no sleeping bags not even a bearskin rug, nope nothing else but the bed. They would have a rather rustic communal outhouse to share with everyone else over a deep pit latrine and share their meals in a rather dilapidated chow hall eating off of tin plates and drinking from tin cups. There would be a camp saloon but it would be like those of the old west, nothing but rotgut whisky, no mixed drinks, no foo-foo appetizers, no micro-brew beer. They would sleep together, eat together and have to participate in trail rides, fly fishing, Grizzly Bear hunting, rodeo events such as bull riding and calf roping as couples, odd couples, but couples nonetheless. This togetherness would be enforced. Those Secret Service and FBI agents with their tasers… they’ll be out there too. Anyway when our leaders go on the overnight trail rides the fun really starts. After they eat their beans from tin plates, sing really bad western songs and take a swig or two or more of rotgut whiskey and then relieve themselves in the manner that the cowboys did in the old West they would get to curl up together in their own two person pup tent, a really small one and spoon. This would help break down the walls that separate them and force them to get to know each other, some possibly in the Biblical sense of the word, but in the spirit of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell I won’t go there.
There is something about shared suffering to bring people together and make them realize that there is more to life than their own narcissistic agendas and power trips. No this wouldn’t be prison for them as much as a lot of Americans think that prison would be fitting for them; prison is far too easy for our political class. Instead this would build character, character that if once they had they lost over their years inside the Beltway.
Of course they would not get to pick their room-mates so here are some of my suggestions:
President Obama and Rush Limbaugh: I know I said that the media should have their own version of this but since Limbaugh is the leader of the conservative movement he has to come and buck with his pal Barry.
Harry Reid and Orrin Hatch: They’re both Mormons so they can at least pray together.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Rachel Maddow: I don’t know it just sounds right.
Nancy Pelosi and Antonin Scalia: Sure it’s an opposite sex pairing but they are both Italians they should have fun.
Tom Tancredo and Janet Napolitano: Let’s make a run for the border and mend some fences together
Russ Feingold and Ron Paul: Government control and Libertarianism two great tastes that go great together
John Ensign and Barbara Boxer: He can’t seem to hold it in and she looks like that she could use some loving
Al Franken and Clarence Thomas: A comedian and a straight man…what a combination
John Kerry and John McCain: Both Vietnam Veterans, they understand the value of camaraderie
Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer: The just look like they need to be together
Diane Feinstein and Michael Savage: ASan Francisco treat
Barbara Milkulski and Kay Bailey-Hutchinson: Why not?
Joe Lieberman and Tim Pawlwnty: Not opposites but they seem to go together
Samuel Alito and Maureen Dowd: It just sounds right
Eric Holder and Glenn Beck: I sense real chemistry here
Hillary Clinton and Newt Gingrich: He’s running and she’s not but why not?
Barney Frank and Sean Hannity: They debate on his show often enough let them really get to know each other
Sarah Palin and Joe Biden: Not a recognizable cognitive thought between them all hormones and testosterone
Sheila Jackson-Lee and Ann Coulter: Salt and Pepper
Ruth Bader-Ginsberg and Pat Buchannan: It can’t get any better than this
John Boehner and Joe Biden: I think that they could really come to love each other
Plus some new additions
Allen West and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz: Bringing Florida together
Michelle Bachmann and Ed Schultz: That Heartland feeling
Herman Cain and Kieth Ellison: Building bridges of faith
Rick Santorum and Lawrence O’Donnell: It can’t get any better
Unfortunately some of our more interesting members of our political class have passed on I would have loved to throw Teddy Kennedy, Robert Byrd, Jesse Helms, Ronald Reagan and any number of others into the mix, but what can I say?
So after 30 days our political elites would board their buses and go back to their home districts or home towns. Then they would have some real town meetings as couples, holding hands, looking dreamily into each other’s eyes and bringing peace to the political landscape. With those pesky Secret Service and FBI agents and their tasers at the ready our leaders would have to listen to their constituents and not the lobbyists. Speaking of lobbyists they all get sent toNew Guinea. As for the Congressmen and Senators they and their new found friends would have to spend 8 months a year living in their home state or district. The would give up their palatial estates in favor of homes that are in the median real estate price for their area. They would send their kids to public schools, go to PTA meetings, coach little league or soccer, deal with local government officials as the rest of us are forced to do. They would have to do their own grocery shopping, fight lines at Wal-Mart, take out their own garbage and spend time sitting in traffic behind the wheel of their average car or SUV. They would fly coach or business class and go through the TSA checkpoints like the rest of us, maybe even getting the full body scan once in a while. They would sit in the drive through line at Wendy’s, make a run for the border, Taco Bell that is and shop for the lowest priced gasoline. The four months that they spend inWashingtonDCwill be devoted to actually fixing things that they have fouled up over the years. They would have to pass non-pork laden budgets passed, reduce the deficit and do everything that they can to bring industry back into this country, rebuild the manufacturing base, protecting the environment as they rebuildour nation’s infrastructure and eliminate the barriers that keep small businesses and entrepreneurs from developing solutions to the challenges that face the country. Likewise they would need to repeal all of the draconian laws that intrude on the everyday life of ordinary Americans. I want the Federal government out of our churches, out of our local public schools, out of our bedrooms and out of everything that they don’t belong in. Freedom baby, I love it.
Finally just to make sure that our now properly schooled public servants don’t forget the lessons of the Great Montana Dude Ranch Sleepover they would for two weeks each year have to do this again. Maybe it could be a trail ride inTexasandOklahoma, a swamp safari inLouisianacomplete with no mosquito repellent. Perhaps a winter camp out at the Donner Pass, a gang- reenactment camp in East L.A. or an Appalachian family get together, still building and moonshine making contest in some holler in West Virginia or Eastern Kentucky. The possibilities in our great country are endless after all learning should be a lifetime event.
Of course my pairings of political bedfellows may not work for you, maybe you have better ones. If so feel free to add them as a comment and on this one no pairing will be denied because it’s all about togetherness. Because as I see it everything comes down to relationships and if we can just get these folks out of Washington to share some hardship, to eat together, ride together and even spoon together after all who can’t say that they don’t feel closer to someone after spooning together?
Now before you think that I am advocating that they all have higgily-piggily sex together I am not. However if it does happen and they get right with each other and start to work together for us what can be wrong with it? Half have probably had nasty sex with people that aren’t their spouses anyway so what difference does it make? It would be a sacrifice that they make for us, their fellow Americans. I know that I don’t want to sleep with any of them and figure that you don’t either and I really don’t want to know what happens when they spoon. Don’t ask don’t tell baby, don’t ask don’t tell. Besides would you want to know what happens when Sean Hannity and Barney Frank spoon? I don’t. I’ll say it again, don’t ask, don’t tell that’s my rule for life.
If this works maybe just maybe that they will finally start looking to the issues that Americans care about. Maybe they will finally understand the desire that we all have to see our children grow up to have the opportunity to outdo us, that our children might have a better future and that the country that we live in would come together like we did in the Second World War to overcome all the obstacles that stand between us and a better future. Call me a genius or call me crazy, chalk it up to Mad Cow, after all I can’t give blood because I lived inEuropeand ate too much beef. But remember “Padre Steve” is a “Uniter” not a divider, a decider not a ditherer and a real American for real Americans.
Padre Steve: a passionate moderate with radical ideas. Sleepover anyone?
Peace and laughs