Congressional Recess (Essay 2, Grade: B+)

In recent times our government seems to have lost touch with what matters in favor of the frivolous and seemingly unimportant. The evidence clearly points to a loss of direction with Congressional Investigations into why CEOs of Oil companies are rich, a congressional recess called after the disaster of Hurricane Katrina or even the short lived “Freedom Fries” movement:

…all references to “french fries” and “French toast” on the menus of the restaurants and snack bars run by the House of Representatives would be removed. House cafeterias were ordered to re-name french fries as “freedom fries.”

Such actions demand congressional investigations into why our lawmakers have difficulty passing laws for universal health care, lowering the cost of malpractice insurance or finding alternative energy sources for the ever increasing cost of oil. In our country helping the poor, unemployed, homeless, and disaster victims should be paramount in the minds of our leaders. It is high time for the voters to decide what is important enough for our lawmakers to spend extra time on.

To appease the religious right, lawmakers wrote and passed “Terri’s Law”—ordering a feeding tube reinsertion—in less than one week. Enough members of the House and the Senate showed up to work on a Saturday and the President cut short one of his many vacations to ensure the measure passed into law. Elected officials used powers—they were entrusted with—to pass a law for one individual. Is this an example of “We the People?” Will there be an individual law written for your benefit also?

Looking at the Patriot Act, a measure passed almost immediately following the events of September 11th, we see transgressions that laugh in the face of freedom. At the time, political careers ended for those that didn’t sign, they were obviously “unpatriotic”. In Michael Moore’s controversial documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, a member of Congress readily admits “We don’t read these bills.” Was this one they should have found the time to read?

Running our country are the groups with money such as the “religious right”, the NRA, Big Oil. These organizations dictate the path of American values through lobbyists and money; is this path a direction you had envisioned?

Who watches the watchmen? Who do our leaders report to? Who elected them? The answer to all three is you and me; ultimately we are the ones in charge as we put them in office. Our responsibility, as Americans, is to ensure they do the job we elected them to do, not the jobs the feel pressured into. Demand answers, action and results or sit idly by as truth, justice and the American way come to exist only in the world of comic book heros.

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