“I’m so sick of congress I could vomit”
Joshua Lyman, a character from West Wing said that, in an episode called “five votes down”. In short, the main conflict of the episode resolves around the president’s bill to make the sale of some gun’s harder to ultimately reduce gun violence. At first, They got enough vote from the congress, but all of a sudden, five of them withdrew the vote. Some for a good reason, other for a completely childish one. Basically this one guy just decided not to vote for the bill, that saves lives, because he wasn’t getting enough photo op with the president. And he used that momentum, to leverage himself into getting attention and asking for exactly that.
I know it’s a hyperbole or a rather exaggerated fiction from a TV show. But in reality, I feel like this petty and selfish reasoning for not passing a bill couldn’t be very far from this fictitious rendition. I mean look at the whole republican party and how the acted in support of Donald Trump. Some of them, at some point really went at him during the campaign period, and now, they just somehow decided to back him up. They just want to board the train, no matter how crooked it is.
Not to forget this whole calamity regarding the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), and how members of congress insisted they will repeal the plan, even though they still do not have any feasible replacement. You know what’s funnier, their constituents actually want to keep the ACA, but they decided to try and repeal it anyway, for whatever reason they may have. In short, Congress members are (more often than not) selfish. Re-election is the only thing they worry about when it comes to their constituent, and political agenda for their party is the second in command of their lives. And if (worst come to worst) they fail to convince their constituents, they can always lie.
This is no unique to the U.S.
Photo Credit: SINDOnews/Isra Triansyah
Indonesia, the largest democratic country in the world has the same problem of dishonest and stubbornly selfish parliament. Worst, they’re impotent too.
By November 2016, two years after elected, they have passed only 10 of their 90 planned regulations. Only 10% of their annual targets are fulfilled. 10%. If you only achieved 10% of what your boss asked for in the office, you are surely screwed. Yet, nobody really hold them accountable of this impotency. Vacant chamber during a parliamentary meeting is a common sight. Yet they flooded the news cycle with their visit to some country that are (most of the time) irrelevant to their performance and actual regulations.
Okay, I may be a bit unfair here. They do flood the room at some point. Like when the King of Saudi visited the parliament this Thursday. Whilst this sounds encouraging, I think it’s important to note, that our dignity as a citizen wasn’t really kept well by our representative, as all they do is sneaking selfies and pointing selfie sticks everywhere.
And to be fair, they do sometimes push forward an emergency meeting. Like when they need to take away Basuki Tjahaja Purnama’s gubernatorial seat for an ambiguous technicality. They actually insisted really hard for this resolution to pass quickly. Of course it has nothing to do with the people they represent. But hey, as long as it benefits they party’s agenda right?
Ironically, on the same day , a group of citizen marched in front of the Saudi Embassy in Jakarta to ask for more protection towards Indonesian Worker in Saudi. With high numbers of violence and unfair criminal prosecution of Indonesian citizen in the Saudi; and with the high numbers of Indonesian workers and diaspora there, I think this is a really important issue (aside of Hajj quota) to look on to. This issue can be easily pushed by the member of the parliament into a discussion with the King himself, and yet, the people representing those protester are instead busy taking selfies and posting the moment they catch a glimpse of the Arabic King on their social media (I should mention though, Setya Novanto did mentioned this issue during his speech). One may say that the fate of our worker has been deemed redundant and unimportant by our representatives, so that they can priorities on taking some pictures that they can brag on their social media.
Congress consists of one third, more or less, scoundrels; two thirds, more or less, idiots; and three thirds, more or less, poltroons. – H.L Mencken