Congresskids Should Be Neither Seen Nor Heard

Like a sequined meteor, the prodigal son briefly returned to Congress. Fitted with a rhinestone collar and shod in equally sterling loafers.

Disgraced, but never ungraceful, Rep. George Santos attended President Biden’s potential State of the Union swan song. (Should Biden extendo reach a victory in November, he’ll hopefully do the dignified thing and resurrect the 19th century tradition of submitting every year’s address on parchment, saving us all the misery of having to stay up until 9PM Eastern to be told all is peachy keen.)

Santos traipsed in, full former member privileges intact, garishly festooned as ever, just to juice his Twitter klout. But he wasn’t the only enfant terrible in hemicycle seating. The Scream Queen of MAGAdom, Marjorie Taylor Greene, was decked out in her finest white-trash digs, handing out buttons featuring the beatific mien of Laken Riley, a college student viciously killed by an illegal alien in Georgia. Rep. Greene, taking a page from the BLM white-guilt grift manual, demanded the President “say her name.” She then proceeded to interrupt his speech with the same nasally drawled demand.

Nagging Madge wasn’t the only annoyingly impulsive member. Her fellow playpen Republicans wailed critiques to Biden’s Adderall-addled address, including such high-minded argumentative classics as “bullsh*t” and “lies!

Speaker Mike Johnson, who resembles an apple-polisher used to paying enraptured attention, urged his caucus to be respectful during the President’s bumbling campaign speech. Good luck with that, Mikey. His peanut gallery had a harder time sitting still and shutting up than a preschool class hopped up on cupcakes, candy, and cocaine.

I get the urge to speak truth to power, if the Republikids caterwauling can be charitably described as “protestation.” Speaking out is an instinctual American act. “Empty theatricalize protest set the stage for the American Revolution,” noted Adam Gopnik. In no other country does a major highway come to a standstill over arm-linked activists raising awareness of the deforestation in Papua New Guinea. (Except for maybe the cheese-eating surrender monkeys of France, who don’t count because they end every demonstration at 4PM for wine-and-Emmental hour.)

But as any haggard parent will tell you, there’s a limit to puerile heckling. Besides, conservatives are supposed to be propriety-enforcers. Libs are the hyperventilating brats.

So what to do with unruly children who, by dint of winning enough votes, have a right to inhabit a public body? The answer lies in its essence: kindergarten. (Apologies to all pre-k classes, particularly my youngest daughter’s, for comparing you to Congress. Your elaborate finger-paintings and Elmer’s glue-webbed collages take more talent and concentration than typesetting laws for the country.)

Impudent members of Congress—think Lauren Boebert, the Squad, Egyptian fixer Bob Menendez, or chaos agent Matt Gaetz—should be “held back,” or what education scholar Richard Reeves calls “redshirted.” What’s redshirting, and is it some kind of Republican-coded dress mandate? No, though Marge Greene may leap at the chance to don more gules-glossed MAGAwear.

Redshirting is the default practice of keeping immature students, namely boys, for an extra year of kindergarten. Girls tend to be quieter and more attuned to classroom instruction than boys, who’d rather be sword-fighting with sticks outside. School is a sociological arrangement based on learning under a rigid code of conduct, which, if you’ve ever spent more than twenty minutes with an excitable little Timmy, sounds like excruciating torture. Whenever I visit my oldest’s k-5 class, her male classmates can’t sit still for more than three seconds. They act like jittering animals in a zoo cage. And this is a full seven or eight years before the full testo-load hits.

Disruptive students make for terrible learning environments, setting off a downward cycle of externalities. You can’t learn math if the person next to you is carrying on like a Lyssavirus-infected chimpanzee. As Ed West wrote, “no one should have to share a class with someone who disrupts lessons. No educator should be obliged to teach someone who can’t behave.”

Likewise, Congress shouldn’t be dominated by air-wave hungry imps. But since voters crave “fighters” who behave like unfledged hotspurs, they can’t legally be barred from occupying a Rayburn office. So on behalf of the mature members who actually know how to behave in a professional setting, here’s my proposal: a designated congressional crèche caucus, complete with its own meeting quarters and office wing.

The arrangement comes from age-old wisdom: Anyone acting like a child, will be treated like one. The country already suffers from what Sohrab Ahmari calls a “flight of authority,” with checked-out adults unwilling to take charge. Congress is less lunatics running the asylum than tots running the nursery.

But under my plan, playtime’s over. The Speaker of the House and Minority Leader can, taking charge as mom and dad, designate any member for this tearaway contingent. The same goes for the Senate Majority and Minority leaders. This way, infantile officials can cry away until they learn impulse control. Only when they can pass the marshmallow test, or resist the easy temptation of a TV camera and ring lights, will designated Pampers politicians be permitted to attend events like the State of the Union.

Congress is already chock-full of influence peddling thieves. It doesn’t need to also be a borstal. Ripping off the country is grownup business. Let’s start treating it as such.

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Free the People publishes opinion-based articles from contributing writers. The opinions and ideas expressed do not always reflect the opinions and ideas that Free the People endorses. We believe in free speech, and in providing a platform for open dialog. Feel free to leave a comment!

Taylor Lewis

Taylor Lewis writes from Virginia.

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