The Heat is On

Matthew May
August is the best month of the entire year. Congress adjourns for a month-long recess in August and our representatives have the chance to spend the month in their home districts and states, unable to pass legislation.

Weather-wise, August means stifling heat and uncomfortable humidity for most of the nation. Yet Global Climate Hope and Change is wreaking havoc with the dog days of summer. The Northeast and Midwest have experienced some of the coolest summers on record. But this August will be one of the hottest ever for Members of Congress who deign to meet face-to-face with their constituents.

Over the years, Members of Congress have erected a virtual hermetic seal around themselves, almost completely cut off from their constituents. Incoming phone calls are routed through a labyrinth of interns, schedulers, and legislative aides -- and that's just in the district office. Getting to the personal office of a Member in their Washington digs is more formidable than breaking the defensive line of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Even most lobbyists are stiff-armed by an army of legislative staffers with various policy "specialties." Often, Members of Congress head to the floor to vote concealing a 3 x 5 index card instructing them how to vote, helpfully compiled by an aide.

This is not to say that representatives should sit around their offices answering phones alongside the interns for 12 hours a day. It is to say, however, that if representatives took a more direct interest in the voice of the people, perhaps they would not be so surprised when they emerge from the gopher hole of the Beltway to be met with hostile resistance to legislation they are attempting to rush through without a second -- or first -- thought.

Ignore or fail to listen to your constituents and you will be sent straight to Hell; Hell for you, of course, being existence on Earth without the ability to preen about as "The Honorable" Member of Congress. Enjoy your month at home.

Matthew May welcomes comments at matthewtmay@yahoo.com

August is the best month of the entire year. Congress adjourns for a month-long recess in August and our representatives have the chance to spend the month in their home districts and states, unable to pass legislation.

Weather-wise, August means stifling heat and uncomfortable humidity for most of the nation. Yet Global Climate Hope and Change is wreaking havoc with the dog days of summer. The Northeast and Midwest have experienced some of the coolest summers on record. But this August will be one of the hottest ever for Members of Congress who deign to meet face-to-face with their constituents.

Over the years, Members of Congress have erected a virtual hermetic seal around themselves, almost completely cut off from their constituents. Incoming phone calls are routed through a labyrinth of interns, schedulers, and legislative aides -- and that's just in the district office. Getting to the personal office of a Member in their Washington digs is more formidable than breaking the defensive line of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Even most lobbyists are stiff-armed by an army of legislative staffers with various policy "specialties." Often, Members of Congress head to the floor to vote concealing a 3 x 5 index card instructing them how to vote, helpfully compiled by an aide.

This is not to say that representatives should sit around their offices answering phones alongside the interns for 12 hours a day. It is to say, however, that if representatives took a more direct interest in the voice of the people, perhaps they would not be so surprised when they emerge from the gopher hole of the Beltway to be met with hostile resistance to legislation they are attempting to rush through without a second -- or first -- thought.

Ignore or fail to listen to your constituents and you will be sent straight to Hell; Hell for you, of course, being existence on Earth without the ability to preen about as "The Honorable" Member of Congress. Enjoy your month at home.

Matthew May welcomes comments at matthewtmay@yahoo.com