Sixty-four “freshman” US senators and representatives were sworn in this week. And “Spring Rush” is beginning at many universities.
College fraternity houses have come under a lot of criticism lately. So have the houses of Congress. Perhaps the two sets of institutions should switch places. Road trip!
(And who wouldn’t like to see 64 congressmen paddled during Hell Week?)
Certainly legislation in Washington would be more interesting with fraternities in charge — “H.R. 4932 Panty Raid on the Supreme Court Act of 2015.” Everybody running around Capitol Hill waving the boxer shorts of Antonin Scalia and Sonia Sotomayor’s girdle.
Plus campus behavior would be more decorous — “Nancy Pelosi Gone Wild.”
Media distaste for fraternities (most reporters were black-balled) could take the heat off Congress. And media dislike for Congress (we weren’t hired as anybody’s communications director, again) could relieve the pressures on fraternities.
Fraternities have been accused of hazing fatalities, gender and sexual orientation prejudice, and — even in such venues as Rolling Stone, which has been championing excessive ingestion of mind-altering substances and untoward sexual behavior for nearly five decades — excessive ingestion of mind-altering substances and untoward sexual behavior.
And fraternity members have been accused of falling off roofs. In a blistering Atlantic article, “The Dark Power of Fraternities,” writer Caitlin Flanagan said, “Far from being freakish and unpredictable events, fatal and near-fatal falls from fraternity-house roofs, balconies, windows, and sleeping porches are fairly regular occurrences across the country.”
Given that, even the most Tea Party-leaning congressional freshman should be willing to work with the president to reform rather than revoke the Affordable Care Act. If the congressional freshman is living in a frat house.
Congress has been blamed for. . . there’s no space here to give a detailed list. But pointless partisan quarrels, legislative deadlock and dangerous politicization of foreign and domestic policies are a start.
Will Gamma Omega Pi and Delta Epsilon Mu get along better than the GOP and the Dems? They have no choice. The North American Interfraternity Conference requires each chapter of its 74 member fraternities to maintain a 2.7, or C+, cumulative grade-point average. In the latest Gallup poll Congress got a 16 percent job approval rating, which is an F where I went to school.
And the keg parties might be salubrious for our political elite.
Senator Bernie Sanders: “Cruiser-man! You dawg!”
Senator Ted Cruz: “Burn-Up! I love you bro!”
Given that the American electorate is 53 percent women, fraternities will need to become co-ed. This should improve frat boy behavior. When Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland yells, “You get down off that roof!” — you get down off that roof. Mikulski grew up in east Baltimore and was a Catholic Charities social worker. Congressmen don’t want her coming after them with a ruler she got from a nun.
Anyway, the congressmen will be too busy to climb roofs — they’ll be busy scissoring hundreds of ª -shaped decorations for the fraternity’s Valentine’s Day “Two-Hearts-Beating-As-One” Formal because New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand asked them to. And who could say no to her?
Meanwhile in D.C. the Capitol building is being filled with tiki heads, bamboo torches, ukuleles, flaming pupu platters, rum drinks in coconut shells, 535 leis and Hawaiian shirts, and 15 tons of beach sand for “Aloha Friday.” At last President Obama is pressed into having a personal, social relationship with legislators (and into doing a hula dance).
Spring Break is made a national holiday. Admiral Michael S. Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, attempts to jump into the swimming pool from the balcony of his 4th floor hotel room in Panama City, Fla., and there is an end to the NSA snooping debate.
There’s also an end to jihad and fighting in the Middle East as America’s first pan-Hellenic House and Senate consult the beer bong and decide to make Spring Break hotel reservations on the beaches of Syria, Gaza, Iran’s Persian Gulf resort island of Kish and Lake Zorkul in Afghanistan. Jihadists, militias, and military hurry to get away from the danger, the chaos and the plummeting admirals in Speedos.
The Washington Redskins finally have a VIP fan base that demands an NFL team at least up to the standards of Northern Illinois University. And the corruption-plagued and scandal-ridden spectacle of college football is mitigated by a new kind of student-athlete.
“Speaker of the House John Boehner takes the hike. . . He falls back. . . He pauses to light a Marlboro. . . ”
Liberal congressmen with their squishy, pseudo-socialist progressive views will get what they deserve — professors who give “good marks for good Marx,” read in the original German.
Troglodyte conservative congressman will find out just how hard it is to get a date when you’re a member of the College Republicans. Gillibrand claims she has to wash her hair.
As congressmen and senators face these sobering experiences, Federal Regulatory Agencies are ordered to make their decisions according to who wins at Beer Pong.
Boston Globe headlines:
“Fed to Print More Money as Janet Yellen Out-Chug-a-Lugs Ron Paul.” “Food and Drug Administration Orders Pizza”
We all know a better America is possible. Let us hark back to a less polarized era and recall perhaps our country’s greatest moment of political unity — at the end of “Animal House,’’ when we see the picture of “US Senator Blutarsky.”
P.J. O’Rourke is a columnist for The Daily Beast. This column was originally published in The Daily Beast.