This Unholy Mess


Let’s Get Behind the Congressional Football League

Just about everybody hates Congress. When your approval rating is hovering around 20%, you’re down in the popularity range of toenail fungus and Bill Cosby. I mean, average Americans are plainly disgusted with the snail’s pace of Congressional activity, the interminable bloviating of its members, its seeming inability to address issues Americans really care about. The whole thing is beyond uninspiring.
So: how to make Congress produce results? How to juice up those numbers? How to get people interested and excited in the process of representative government again?
The solution is so obvious and elegant that it’s hard to believe it hasn’t surfaced before. I’m going to admit right now that its inspiration comes from the current Senate race in the state of Georgia, a race in which a thoughtful, accomplished Democrat, Rafael Warnock, is pitted against Herschel Walker, the GOP candidate best known for his football career as a prize-winning running back, first with the University of Georgia, followed by a series of stints with various NFL teams. He is embarrassingly inarticulate and uninformed on just about every issue, yet is in a statistical tie with his opponent as Election Day approaches.
What does this tell us? Well, to connect all the dots, let me point out one additional fact: Last Thursday night, September 22, thirteen million people tuned in to watch the Los Angeles Chargers play the Kansas City Chiefs. What that suggests is pretty clear. If we want to get people interested in their government, we’ve got to give them something we know they’re going to like. We need to toss out the stodgy, parliamentary yawn-a-thon that is today’s Congress, and replace it with—the Congressional Football League!
Now you might want to cavil about details here, and there is certainly lots of work to do there, but just think of it. You have the Blue Team and the Red Team, and for each bill that comes out of committee, there’s a game on the schedule, to be played out by members of that committee. Want Congress to decide on crucial issues? Then tune in to watch the gridiron battle! The team that can grind out the yardage, the one that has that outrageous wide receiver who pulls in passes forty yards downfield, they’re the one that will drive the congressional agenda!
There will be a WCFL, too, of course. When the committee in question is chaired by a woman, the game will be played in the women’s league, which should be just as exciting as the MCFL. I don’t know about you, but I’m sure Amy Klobuchar at offensive tackle could open up some impressive daylight for the lightning quick moves of running backs like Tammy Baldwin or Kirsten Gillibrand.
There will be a few years of “building,” no doubt. Getting rid of the dead wood that includes most of the current set of creaky geriatric characters will be necessary, but when the criteria for membership in Congress change, we’re bound to see a somewhat younger, more vibrant group—and one not weighed down by a lot of useless lucidity and intelligence, either. The issue of term limits is automatically solved, too. Once a congressplayer goes on the injured list, they will immediately be replaced by another member of the same committee and will be rotated out of office at the next election.
While it’s true that the NFL will find itself cannibalized to a slight extent by the establishment of the CFL, most pros will not give up their splashy salaries, so congressplayers will be recruited mostly from the ranks of retirees happy not just to make some extra money, but to be in a position to play in games that will decide legislation involving the NFL’s amazing tax exemptions and other benefits.
I know everyone is as excited by the prospect of this retooling of Congress as I am. The benefits are everywhere, from the huge streaming revenues that will fill the coffers of the U.S. Treasury without increasing taxes on anyone, to the first editions of trading cards featuring members of Congress, and the outrageous increase in sales of chicken wings with Ranch dip and huge supermarket trays of cold meats and cheeses. And beer! Just think of those beer sales!

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