Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Why 15-year-old girls are more trustworthy than Congress

Earlier this month, Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Illinois) made a suggestion on how to make sure an event like Foleygate never happens again. In LaHood’s view, the best way to prevent our elected representatives from sending sexually explicit instant messages to 16 year-old congressional pages is to eliminate the page program. While some people have taken him to task for this, I applaud LaHood for being the only one in Washington with the foresight to address this problem with a real solution. America’s elected leaders have no business talking to, influencing or interacting with our kids.

LaHood’s critics say that he’s unnecessarily pessimistic and that he’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater. After all, they say, there are 435 members of the US House of Representatives. Surely not all of them will send your children instant messages asking them about the specifics of their white pants. But if there was a baby sitting agency with, say, 435 employees and one of them was caught trying to get into your child’s bedroom drunk, you probably wouldn’t want to hire them again. The same applies here.

But surely the US House of Representatives can’t be compared to a baby sitting company. I realize that may have been an unfair and derogatory comparison for baby sitting agencies and I apologize. Most baby-sitters in my experience have been good, honest people who are just trying to earn some money. Some of the more enterprising ones can even turn baby-sitting into a full-time career. The United States Congress, on the other hand, is an entity comprised of some of the most prominent bird-brains our country has to offer. They’re far less trustworthy than the average baby sitter.

Think about it. If you were looking to hire a teenage girl from the neighborhood as a baby sitter for your family, you can run them through a strenuous interview process. You have to know that you can trust them with your children and your house. If you don’t think one candidate sounds reliable, you have a wealth of other choices: other teenagers from the neighborhood, relatives, even the pone book. If you catch her hanging out with friends you don’t approve of or sneaking her boyfriend into your house when you’re not away, you can choose to never hire her again.

Compare that to our elected officials. If you don’t like your representative, you only have one other person to choose from, and you have to wait two years to tell them that, and even then it might not matter. And if you find them hanging out with unsavory characters, like lobbyists or other elected officials, there’s not much you can do about it. And though the neighbor girl watching your kids would get in trouble for it, Congressmen can invite 16-year-old boys over as much as they want and don’t even get yelled at by their Speaker.

And that’s why Mr. LaHood is right. He just had the guts to call out the page program for what it is: glorified babysitting. He knows that if the House was a baby sitting company, it would be the worst one ever. And shutting down the page program is the only way the parents of these kids are going to wake up and send their kids to do something more productive; like work at a car wash or flip burgers at Wendy’s. What kind of parent willingly sends their child off to be a Congressional page anyway? Forcing your child to spend a muggy summer in a city that was built on a swamp working for a bunch of career slackers who are too incompetent to get real jobs should automatically earn you “Worst Parent of the Year” consideration. Even if your child doesn’t wind up having to see their instant messages spilled out all over the news, they might still come back with new and frightening ideas. Like forgoing their plans to be a janitor or short-order cook for something shameful like running for public office.

In short, ending the page program makes sense for all parties involved. Kids can spend their summers doing important things that will give them the practical skills they need to succeed in the real world, like eating mini pretzels in front of the computer screen. Parents can feel assured knowing that their 16-year-olds are only having sex with other 16-year-olds in the backseats of their Honda Civics. And our elected representatives can continue screwing voters instead of voters’ teenage kids.

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