The new Senate chamber would look something like this; the House, bigger.
I came up with the solution to all our problems in Washington yesterday while watching carp feed. Haven’t worked out all the details yet, but it’s getting there.
And it was good to be out walking again after three weeks of mind-numbing heat when all you could think of when afoot was sweat.
It’s intensely green now with a few splashes of color, poised on the pinnacle of midsummer, waiting for the drift toward fall. The big fall show is waiting along the roads and trails, getting ready to bloom gold.
Anyhow, it occurred to me that being cooped up inside for a week or two had made me crazy --- stressed, paranoid, angry. And the breeze and the sun, birds and landscape swept all that away.
The same thing, on a grander scale, has been happening to our senators, representatives and president --- cooped up out there in D.C. That’s why they’re nuts. They all need to get back to nature --- permanently.
I’m thinking somewhere in western Kansas or Nebraska, where it’s uncluttered and there aren’t many people around --- maybe South Dakota if something could be worked out with the folks on one of the reservations.
No dramatic mountain views --- they need to learn to appreciate open sky and short-grass prairie without distractions.
We’d keep Washington. All the folks who keep the country running would stay there, as would congressional and White House staffs. That’s the beauty of high-tech communications.
Each lawmaker could bring along an assistant; the president, two. The House and Senate chambers plus the Rotunda would be reserved for tourists and state funerals, that sort of thing. Staff would move to more economical quarters, and the lavish offices would be rented out to some of those corporations we subsidize --- a way to recover some of our investment.
The president could keep his White House apartment as a retreat, but we’d turn the building into an upscale bed and breakfast. I haven’t worked out much it should cost to sleep in Lincoln’s bed.
I don’t have anything expensive in mind for out west. I’m thinking three Morton Buildings --- a big one for the House, a smaller one for the Senate and the president and a third one for the cafeteria. Maybe dogtrots connecting.
We’d get us some folding chairs and lots of those nice lightweight plastic folding tables they sell now at Wal-Mart. Representatives would have to double up, but senators could have their own tables. The president could have two. These would serve as their offices, too --- cell phones and laptops, a couple of centrally-located printer/scanner/fax machines.
There should be enough FEMA trailers scattered around the country to house the lawmakers --- at some distance from the capitol complex. I want these guys and gals walking to and from work. The president would get a new double-wide (he invested more in getting elected than the rest).
School cooks nationwide would take turns feeding the crew cafeteria-style, taking turns state by state. There should be enough commodities in government warehouses to get them started, states could kick in their own signature products (pork and corn from Iowa, for example), but we’d start vegetable gardens and orchards and daily work in them would be mandatory.
A dairy herd, chickens and other livestock, too. Milking a cow can clear the mind --- unless she kicks. State congressional delegations could take turns.
Security needs should be minimal --- you can see folks coming from a considerable distance out there on the high plains. We’d just surround the camp with some of those troops coming home from Iraq and Afgnahistan, keeping one variety of terrorist in, the other out.
No motor vehicles anywhere near camp other than security vehicles, shuttle buses and semis delivering commodities. No gas-guzzling airplanes anywhere near. We trade Air Force One in on Greyhound One.
No lobbyists allowed, nor lavish entertainment --- just campfires and evening sing-alongs.
I think this preliminary plan has a lot going for it. It gets those fools out of Washington and back to the land. I’ll keep you updated as we work out more details.