Congress is broken. I don’t mean broken like, “I dropped my iPhone in the toilet and now it’s broken” broken. I mean broken like, “I dropped my iPhone in the toilet and the combined electrical charge of the phone and foamy toilet water inadvertently opened a door to a parallel dimension of ancient evil, a hellish dreamscape of steely man-eating robots and lizard people that spilled into our world via this Chili’s restroom toilet and now these primordial monsters are eating my boneless buffalo wings and drawing up plans to destroy humanity with their poorly manicured claws and ceaseless primal fury and also, my iPhone is broken” broken.
That being said, all is not lost. There are ways of luring the ancient monsters of Congress back into the Chili’s restroom … of — I don’t know — reform, maybe? I’m sorry; I think I lost the metaphor. But anyway, the point is this is fixable.
Step 1: Make men and women in Congress wear sponsor patches showing their top 10 donors.
NASCAR racers have ‘em, and what’s more American than driving cars in a circle? I think it is more than fair for us to see who’s paying for our elected representative’s reelection campaign. I want to watch CNN and when I see some insufferable douche bag talking about how more regulation on Wall Street will stifle growth, I want to be able to look above his American flag pin on his lapel to find a Goldman Sachs badge. Do you know why people wear uniforms during football games? So we know what team they play for. The same should go for politics.
Step 2: Reinstate Dueling.
If you want to stop the empty accusations and back-and-forth squabbling amongst Democrats and Republicans, you need to raise the stakes. Challenging a man to a duel is a vibrant and entertaining way of cutting bullshit. People will speak more carefully and intentionally if they know that saying the wrong thing may lead to a ten-pace standoff. We live in an age where accusing the president of being a Kenyan goes unchecked. Alexander Hamilton was Vice President, talked some shit, and got challenged to a duel and died. Can you imagine anyone in Congress suggesting the president was a Kenyan communist if it meant defending that statement with their life? Jesus, Andrew Jackson killed a dude in 1806 just for saying he cheated at a fucking horse race! If Andrew Jackson saw Congress today he would probably tell you, “These sweet bitches are soft.” No, I read books sometimes. He really talked like that.
Dueling would accomplish a few things:
1. Keep legislators from saying stupid things (see: cashing proverbial checks that ass simply cannot cash.)
2. Keep cowards from running for Congress.
3. Restore a sense of nobility to public service.
4. Make CSPAN fantastically watchable.
Step 3: Reform the filibuster.
Since 2007, the GOP has filibustered nearly 400 times, but it’s not like the old school Mr. Smith Goes To Washington filibusters where someone handsome stands up and talks for 14 hours. No, now all you have to do is say you are going to filibuster and that’s it. That’s like a baseball game and getting up to bat then yelling at the pitcher, “This was going to be a homerun but I have to return some DVDs to Redbox, I I just don’t have the time. So just put the points on the board.”
I want to watch CSPAN and see a real fillubuster by some tired 70-year-old congressman, J.P. Morgan advertisements pasted to their jacket, sweating bullets, 400 pages deep into War & Peace when someone from the opposing party stands up and shouts, “I’m tired of this insufferable douche bag, this sweet bitch is soft! I challenge you to a duel!” Then, some sort of ambitious cable news graphic explodes on the screen and the two men or women fight to the death, like gentlemen or ladies.
Then, the filibuster ends and there is a vote and a piece of legislation passes or doesn’t but it’s not important because at least the wheels are turning. Because sometimes the only way to fight the ancient monsters is with their own ancient rituals. Let them duke it out in their own dimension so I can finish my boneless buffalo wings in peace.
Bill Dixon is a comedy writer residing in Los Angeles, California. You can follow him on Twitter: @Billdixonish