Past Opinion Articles

Article for the week of 8/29/07

Congress could learn a few things from Boy Scouts
By, Ezra Paul Mann (Editor and Campfire Wizard)
Sometimes I look at the problems of the world and how easily we can ignore them with instant distraction. Sure, we’re all aware that we could do something, even with minimal effort, but why pay attention when we can blast the hours away in our daily blissful ignorance? Who needs the crisis in Darfur, why should we care about thousands of our own people suffering from lack of healthcare or why bother voting in the latest election as an informed citizen when we’ve got all day access to how Owen Wilson tried to cut his way out of fame! Well, you can’t escape this week, because I just happen to have yet another solution to a vexing issue in our society. I’m going to tell you how Congress can actually become a worthwhile functioning body.
Yes, yes, I’ve all seen those scoffing looks before, so put those things away and let me introduce the inspiration to the solution: The Boy Scouts of America. (Seriously, you’ll need those scoffs when Paris Hilton makes the news next week) It may seem like an insane proposal at first, but when you really think of it, the genius will blow the political landscape out of the Bug Juice. It will all fall into line like a well recited pledge of allegiance because we are going to set up a new set of rules/standards that must be followed if elected officials want to keep their cushy jobs. Instead of wasting our times hunting for votes between each election period they will have to earn badges, learn survival skills and of course, always be prepared. Failing that, they will all be fired out of a cannon.
Now before you try to label me a sexist bastard (Sexy Bastard is more like it); this plan will also cover the ladies of the senate and house. That aside, the first task that all of these overpaid officials must complete is to earn a series of representative merit badges. These coveted badges of honor will include such tasks as fulfilling at least eight out of 10 campaign promises (all of them if less than eight), no pointless bickering badge (mudslinging of any kind and you are whipped with a wet weasel) and refusing to appear on the fox network badge (looks great with the kicked Michael Moore in the shin sash). To protect the system all lobbying for merit badges is forbidden. The more merit badges you earn, the less likely your picked official will earn his wings the hard way.
If earning enough merit badges isn’t incentive enough to avoid being cannon fodder, our guys and gals of Washington D.C. will need to master survival skills. This won’t simply be spending the night in a makeshift tent in the middle of winter; this will be a test of actually getting by in the state the congress person earned their job in. Instead of living in condos or ritzy suites near the capitol they must live among the people who they are supposed to be helping. After so many encounters with an angry mob these plush politicians might just cut down the screw up numbers. If not, pair up your imagination with a good dose of civilian justice.
The final test will come with how well our congressional personnel can take to heart the greatest lesson of a Boy Scout, being prepared. There’s really no need for extra punishment here, because if you aren’t prepared in life, it’s going to suck when the consequence monster gets hungry. Perhaps if the people we chose to represent us would actually do an honest day’s work we wouldn’t have to vote half of them out every time we went to the polls. Most of the time I feel like we’re being told we’re too stupid to figure out they are wasting our time. We’re not all idiots and if our nation really cares about its future then maybe they can learn a few things from those quirky tan uniforms.

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