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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Basic Biittner: Time For a Change?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

One word (or is a hyphenate?) that certainly seems to be overused, mis-used, insincerely used, or just plain used and abused, is "bipartisan."

I mean, there's been a lot of talk about the need for bipartisanship regarding this or that political issue ever since I can remember, and for the most part, that's been just what it is - talk.

Personally, I have a hard time buying any talk of bipartisanship from anyone who belongs to an exclusive club which is the epitome of segregation.

I have heard references to "this side of the aisle" or "the other side of the aisle" for most of my life, but it is only in recent years that I became aware that members of Congress do, indeed, sit on opposite sides of the aisle - Republicans on one side and Democrats on the other.

Come on, people - grow up! Most of you lived through the "wonderful" days of segregation, many of you decried the practice, and some of you even helped (almost) put an end to it with the passage of the Civil Rights Bill in 1964.

Nineteen sixty-four- that's 43 years ago! Yet here you sit, 43 years later, still practicing your own brand of segregation. Why on Earth, with the advanced technology we have today, do all the elephants and all the donkeys have to sit "with their own?"? You might as well have the room separated by race or sex. How about all the male African-Americans in one section, all the female Caucasians in another, males of Hispanic heritage somewhere else, female African-Americans over here, Asian guys over there, etc.

Why not just seat everyone in alphabetical order, regardless of party? The next session, you go to reverse alphabetical order, so no one gets too used to a particular spot. Then, at the session after that, try a totally different seating arrangement. It would make for a good "mixer," I think - let everyone get to know each other, with no name tags or party identification allowed. Just get to know one another- likes and dislikes, important issues to each person, and so on.

Why not give it a try, guys and gals? The fact is, the way you've been doing it for the last 230 years isn't working all that well.

Another rule of my "new Congress" would be no palm-greasing special interests allowed in the building (or in town, for that matter).

And another thing - when a Congressman or Senator leaves office, whether by his/her own choice, or by the vote of the people- said former legislator must return to his/her home state for at least two years before he/she can relocate elsewhere, if they so choose. No more retired legislators settling in D.C. right after they leave office.

Well, that's enough ranting for now, I guess. I think when politicians say "it's time for a change," they really SHOULD change some things.

Postscript : I probably would have become aware of this whole "aisle thing" sooner, if not for an incident that happened to me several years ago.

I was sitting in the gallery of the US Senate, looking through a book about Congress that I had just purchased , when a Senate page told me to close my book, because it "showed disrespect" for the speaker. I wasn't making any noise, mind you, and was not reading Playboy or other questionable material. I'm sure I wasn't bothering anyone else, especially the Senators. When I looked down on the floor, in fact, it didn't seem like many of the Senators were paying any attention to the speaker, either, as they were reading, talking to others, or walking around the room.

Dan Whitney
Basic Biittner