Congress Needs Its Own Dormitory

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Paul Waldman is exasperated with the latest fad among members of Congress: sleeping in your office to demonstrate to your constituents just how much you really, truly hate the Sodom that is modern Washington DC. It started after the Gingrich revolution of 1994, and has now become so popular among the tea party set that even the womenfolk are getting into the act. “It was never my goal to come to DC and be comfortable,” says South Dakota’s Kristi Noem. Waldman is unamused:

Oh, spare me. If you’re doing it because you don’t want to get too settled in Washington, then I assume you won’t be running for re-election, right? I thought so.

I’ll grant that as far as affectations go, this one certainly takes commitment. But how exactly is sleeping in your office supposed to keep you connected with the real America? What’s going to make you more “out of touch,” getting an apartment so you can have a good night’s sleep when you’re doing the people’s business, or literally never leaving Capitol Hill? Is signing a one-year lease on a studio going to suddenly make you change your views on deficit spending or tax cuts or the next trade deal? If it is, your constituents probably shouldn’t have elected you in the first place.

Maybe Congress should just set up its own dormitory, along the lines of a youth hostel, maybe, and let our nation’s representatives bunk down there. They’ve already got a barbershop and a gym, after all, so why not just add a few photogenically spartan cells and allow the office suites to revert to being actual offices?

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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