If there’s anything viewers could take away from the fight for House Speaker this past week is that watching the recording secretary call the roll of the U.S. House 15 times is really lousy television. The only drama of the seemingly endless exercise in how our country really works was by how many votes Kevin McCarthy might have lost in the game of legislative seesaw.
The fun part was recognizing how much of the power of the Speaker was being diminished with each of so-called Freedom Caucus’s flipped votes. The attraction of the House gavel is, after all, power. At the end of the day, McCarthy would have the equivalent power of a middle-school hall monitor—no actual authority but a built-in late pass for every class.
And on the second anniversary of the January 6 insurrection, isn’t it ironic that the party complicit in the storming of the capitol can’t find a way for an orderly transfer of Congressional power within its own body—a body housed in the very chamber that men in funny costumes once commandeered?
I believe McCarthy was staging the whole thing, just to hear fifteen of his colleagues laud him for being some sort of visionary of America’s future. In actuality, he strikes me as a neo-Nazi who would like to see the federal government brought to its knees and power returned, irrevocably, to the states, counties and municipalities. The twenty or so turncoats in the Republican Party represent McCarthy’s truest colors—colors he didn’t necessarily want the core Republicans to see. C’mon Kevin, they’re not that stupid.
What last week’s fiasco indicates to me is that it’s time to toss out the documents describing our government and start all over.
I’m not sure how one goes about writing a constitution. It seems like a big job for a big committee that would take many months. Maybe borrowing from the ways other countries operate would be the best route.
But we should start with the tax code. Throw the whole damn thing out and find a suitable percentage of income as the tax base. No deductions, no paperwork beyond a W2 indicating income. Enclose a check for however much you owe. Done.
I know that this would be a great hardship on the world of accounting and all of its bean counters. But remember that nothing lasts forever. Notice how we don’t have any wheelwrights anymore?
Public service must be part of the new way to run a government. Two years, right out of high school. The service can be in the military or picking up garbage on the streets. It doesn’t matter. The experience should be humbling.
Every time I’m in France or Italy, I find myself wishing I could live there. Both countries have interesting takes on what is legal. For instance, in Italy there are strict rules about pizza, pork, and wine production, and they are enforced rigorously. Traffic lights, on the other hand, seem to be optional.
In France, wine and cheese production is strictly controlled, as are the baguettes. Of course the country produces more than four hundred varieties of cheese and God-only-knows how many kinds of wine. The French seem to be in love with round-abouts, but they also know how to maneuver their ways around them. The French also seem to love going on strike, frequently shutting down public transportation, schools, and even the government.
I also like how both the French and the Italians take a three-hour lunch break.
Immigration and crime seem to be hot topics in the world of politics. Immigration is especially problematic for every country except for those countries whose citizens are fleeing. America has long claimed to have open arms for the huddled masses. We should probably either go back to that principal or take the statue down. There’s not a store or factory that doesn’t have a “Now Hiring” sign out front. Our new constitution should provide jobs and temporary housing for those seeking refuge.
Each of our current constitutional amendments should be studied and re-written to make each provision make sense. Do we really want a separation of church and state? If so, make it clear and make it so the Bible-thumpers will shut up about prayer in school.
There’s a lot of hard work in creating a new constitution. I think I’ll start a religion.
Photo illustration by Courtney A. Liska
FRENCH MUSHROOM SOUP
1/4 cup butter
1 lb. fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/3 cup flour
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tbs. minced parsley
In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat; sauté mushrooms for 5-6 minutes or until moisture has evaporated; sprinkle flour over mushrooms and cook 1 minute.
Gradually stir in stock; bring to boil, stirring constantly. Add thyme, bay leaf and green onions; reduce heat and cover. Simmer 15- 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf.
In small bowl whisk egg yolks with cream; stir 1cup hot stock into cream mixture and add to pot. Heat over low heat until hot about 5 minutes; add pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled with parsley.