By Manifesto Joe
It's nice to know that members of Congress sometimes exhibit a sense of history. I just wish they would quit neglecting the burning issues of the present while revering the ancient past.
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted, 361-47, with 13 members voting "present," to honor Confucius. That's right, Confucius, on his 2,560th birthday. The resolution, H.R. 784, is one "Honoring the 2560th anniversary of the birth of Confucius and recognizing his invaluable contributions to philosophy and social and political thought."
No one spoke against the resolution, which was sponsored by Rep. Al Green, D-Houston, and drew 40 co-sponsors. Yet, 60 members either voted against the resolution or voted "present." The breakdown by party: 234-12-2 among Democrats, 127-35-11 among Republicans.
It's somewhat reassuring to know that a majority of Congresspeople, even wingnut Republicans, realize that some of civilization's great hallmarks go back 4,500 years, predate Christianity by many centuries and often weren't Western in origin. I read that even Michele Bachmann voted for this one.
But if I'd been there, I'm not sure I wouldn't have just silently and sullenly opposed this myself, as a simple protest.
With a quagmire war in Afghanistan that's getting away from us, with the Iraq war still clearly not over in view of periodic terrorist violence, with joblessness pushing 10%, with 47 million Americans lacking health insurance, etc., etc. ... doesn't our Congress have something far better to do than spend time passing resolutions like this one?
It gets even worse. While just casually following the actions of Congress in recent weeks, I noticed resolutions congratulating collegiate wrestling and lacrosse teams on their championships, and one recognizing country-Western music as a uniquely American art form that has greatly enriched our culture.
It's all very nice, but I don't go to the polls every two years to have them piss away taxpayer money like that. Why not put some of that time and energy into advancing a health care overhaul? Or, pay attention to one of the many other pressing issues confronting America?
I'm suspicious that some of those 35 Republicans may have opposed the resolution because they thought Confucius was a Marxist or a Muslim or something. Yeah, yeah, I know such ideologies and religions didn't exist then, but do certain of them know that? I can imagine a private conversation: ("He wuz a Chinaman, weren't he? Never liked me none of them. They's atheists an' Reds.")
But, as much as I hate to think that I might have voted, out of disgust, with some of the GOP wingnuts, this is one instance in which I might well have done so.
Of course, there's about as much chance of me sitting in the U.S. House as there is of Confucius coming back from the dead -- or getting a talk show on AM radio.
Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.