I wrote this after a conversation with my friend who works for the (Republican) Governor’s office. Though I’m fairly liberal and he’s a die hard conservative, intermixed with our shoptalk we happened on an idea that would both thought would improve Dem Repub relations and actually help get things done.
Think back to your time at school: even if your personal experience wasn’t the traditional dorm life, your probably still knew someone who had to get along with many people in extremely close quarters. Being a college student you get used to certain things: warm beer, cold pizza, and living with people who might not share similar tastes in cleanliness, hours for sleeping, or music. However, seeing as you live in a dorm/constrained space you have to cowboy up, and get along with this roommate/friend’s roommate/fraternity brother/sorority sister etc. In fact, at times you must even cooperate on such mutually beneficial tasks as vacuuming, dish washing, or alcohol purchasing.
The Senators and Representatives of the United States must go back to school. My proposal is as follows. It is very easy to demonize someone with whom you spend little time; you don’t have to talk to them, they don’t have to talk to you, and communication can be handled by pointed press releases and snarky tweets written by an intern. Overheated rhetoric is par for the course. However, if Senators and Representatives had to live in dorm style housing, I believe a new civility would prevail.
Senators and Representatives may read this and feel as though they would be forced into regression: they paid their dues and they should not suffer the same indignities as lowly college students. And to a certain point, that does make sense. But what our congressmen forget is that they are in this together. It is up to each and every one of them to craft solutions together that keep our country great. And lately, they seem to have forgotten that they are partners in this exercise, willing or not.
By confining congressmen to live together in close quarters, there would be a physical representation of how responsibility for the country works. We elect our senators or representatives to work for us; and it’s time that they start making sacrifices necessary to wrestle our country forward. With dormitory style housing, congressmen would no longer have to spend time dealing with leases or rent or any of those things; and the charges could be taken out of their paychecks.
As Abraham Lincoln famously stole from Mark 3:25 “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Well these days we don’t we even have a house. So I propose to create one. Imagine: the excitement of finding roommate assignments, the creation of house rules, and deciding who can use what when… I imagine somewhere in those negotiations, there could be time for a sensible discussion of healthcare, the taxcode, and citizen’s rights.