Saturday, August 21, 2010


Like most youngsters, one of the favorite things about my early days in school was recess. Oh don't get me wrong, I actually liked going to school (in spite of nuns with rulers). I truly enjoyed the educational process, delighted in learning about the subjects that I was taught, and reveled in the academic competition fostered between students (something I feel is sadly pilloried in today's educational process). Recess was still the best however. It was only during this period that one could simply enjoy being with friends, when the only effort expended was done in seeking enjoyment, and when one's only concern was to relax and enjoy the all too brief period given you to do so. 

Even the bruises and wounds one occasionally received in such pursuits were far less painful than might be expected. While far from those carefree days of youth, I nevertheless find that recess is still my favorite time. The joy that I feel however, is for far different reasons these days. You see, today when I think of recess, I think on the fact that Congress has left Washington DC. 

For those of you who have somehow failed to connect the dots, Congressional recesses are the only time when our elected legislators are not working their normal devilment. It is a time when members go home to their respective districts (or on fact-finding trips to exotic locales) and are not taxing, regulating, or spending the country into the seventh level of Hell. Now normally we can count on partisan politics, personal bickering, and simple confusion to bring about enough inefficiency to slow the apparently inexorable process performed in these august Houses to a crawl. 

From time to time however (and far too often lately), legislators manage to summon the will to put aside such petty disputes long enough to find new ways to make our lives truly miserable (or at least more than mildly inconvenient). In fact, the only break that we seem to get these days is during their all too infrequent departures from the logic-free zone of Washington for some well-deserved (by us) time off. Even that is not a guarantee however, as we recently discovered when Speaker Pelosi refused to let these sleeping dogs lie and brought Representatives back to their duties to pass an additional $26 billion in spending. Having done so in less time than it takes most families to decide on an automobile purchase, they once again recessed. (All travel costs for this little spending spree by the way, were also picked up by taxpayers.) 

Don't get me wrong, this is not to say that Congress doesn't do good things for the country as well. For example, there was ... No wait, there was that time when they ... Oh yeah, I remember now, they ... OK, I give up. I can't can't seem to recall one from recent history off the top of my head, but I never claimed that memory was my strong suit. 

I can still remember those long ago carefree hours from my youth though, and I recall as well that recess was always over long before I was ready. I find that I realize much the same today. Before we have really begun to enjoy these far too infrequent and easy-going moments of Congressional vacation, they are all too quickly ended. Just when we begin to stop looking over our collective shoulders and begin to bask in the sheer joy of the experience, our nationally elected officials return to the duties that we elected them for. 

And just as we did at the end of recess period, we in turn dutifully line up and trudge back to the concerns that it seems we had only just been able to set aside. Take heart however my friends, for like those joyous and exuberant hours from our youth, recess will come again.


mud_rake said...

During my youth, recess was my only salvation from the ugliness that was an imprisonment called school. I hated every minute of school until I got to the university.

Yet, that is not the point of your post. You say, Don't get me wrong, this is not to say that Congress doesn't do good things for the country as well. Yet, one comes away from reading this post with the feeling that Congress is Enemy #1 in the lives of the citizens of this nation.

In your opinion, what were some of the 'good things for the country' which Congress passed?

Roland Hansen said...

Oh, Tim, if only you could be King For A Day in the U.S. of A.!!!!

Tim Higgins said...


Obviously you missed the point of the piece (as you appear to point out). The good things that Congress did this year was take recesses.

Tim Higgins said...


A former chief executive of this country once said, "If nominated I will not run. If elected, I will not serve."

A famous comedian, writer, producer, and director however once said, "It's good to be the king".

mud_rake said...

The good things that Congress did this year was take recesses.

Yes, I understand the tongue-in-cheek 'point' of this post but, seriously, can you point out some of the 'better' things that congress has done in the past few years?