Every cycle, this is the “Uncle Krusty Show” time for the congress. It’s a unique blending of hubris and rampant indifference. Look what happens every time during a “lame duck” session. You have a combination of incredibly important stuff that has to get done before year’s end, combined with the overpowering disinterest of a bunch of people who know they won’t be around to share the blame when the shit hits the fan.
Look what’s on the plate between now and December 31. Funding the government, building that wall, protecting Robert Mueller’s investigation, and of course
Ditch Mitch McConnell’s personal favorite, ramming judicial nominees through at warp speed, so they can keep us in indentured servitude to the master class for generations to come. So much to do, and so little time. Especially considering the fact that if we can get congress to work for three consecutive days in a week, they want to file for overtime.
Obviously, with a packed, pressured schedule like that, congress must prioritize. In government that basically means pushing the shit that is most important to you personally, and pushing everything else off to the next bunch of goofs. Like a football team with a 3 point lead, they “run out the clock” on things they just don’t want to deal with.
And they’re doing it right now, on a very serious subject, and one that shouldn’t be treated like the wrapping paper after the present has been opened. Does the name John Conyers ring a bell? No, how about Blake Farenthold? Any takers on Trent Franks? Come on now, don’t tell me you’ve never heard of Al Franken.
That’s right, I’m talking about sexual harassment, specifically workplace sexual harassment. Those names all share one thing in common, they were all very nasty boys, and they all got their heads handed to them on a platter in the righteous fires of the #metoo movement. Congress walked around on egg shells for months, waiting for the next shoe to drop.
The problem got so bad that even the constituents started to notice, and complain to their elected representatives that it was time to put their big boy pants on, and actually deal with this shit. And deal with it congress did. First they took the unprecedented step of actually passing a law that said that they could no longer use our money to pay the settlements for their personal quirks, they’d have to pony up themselves. Then the House took the step of actually passing a bill that dealt with the issue, and with some real chops to it. The Senate didn’t really care for that bill, since it might impose actual, you know, like penalties and stuff on personal behavior, so they came up with a weaker bill of their own.
And here’s where they run out the clock. Congress has until midnight on December 31 to merge those two competing bills into one bill, and pass it in both chambers. If they don’t, like Cinderella’s carriage, it turns back into a pumpkin. The next congress will have to start all over again from scratch, but this time, without the consistent blare of headlines laying out the sexual kinks of powerful people, some of them congress critters.
This is inexcusable. Just because we have found ourselves in a respite where the rich and infamous are spending more money on non disclosure settlements than they are on world domination, doesn’t mean that the problem has disappeared. The base problem is there, and it ain’t going anywhere anytime soon. The legislation the House and Senate put forward will not stop the systemic issue of sexual harassment, but it would legitimize the issue politically, as well as making members of congress more responsible and accountable for their own misbehavior. But this congress has found that The Great Pumpkin is the perfect spotlight to hide in the shows behind.,
Sadly, I have absolutely no doubt that the strategy is going to be successful, and that the current congress is going to run out the clock on sexual harassment, and kick the can down the road. But it doesn’t have to end there. On January 3rd, almost a full 25% of the House of Representatives is going to be made up of women, mostly Democratic women. This should be a Top 5 issue on the agenda for the new Democratic led House. This is an issue that Americans truly care about, especially women. Crafting, debating, and passing a self policing sexual harassment bill in the House will put upward pressure on the still male dominated Senate to get off of their dead asses and deal with it. It has the advantage of being nearly impossible for the Senate to run the clock on, since they have two whole years to waste. And restoring this issue to the national spotlight may have the additional advantage of giving more affected men and women the courage to finally speak out, and start their own healing process.
I’m sorry, but this issue is just too damn important to allow the “politics as usual” bullshit to carry the day. Too many people bared their souls, and put their emotional lives on the line to let Ryan and McConnell brush them off like dandruff flakes from their Armani-clad shoulders. One way or the other, this needs to get done.
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