Friday, March 16, 2007

D.C. Fallout: Political Sausage Fest (Made in the U.S.A.)

"Laws are like sausages. It's better not to see them being made." (Otto Von Bismarck)

Despite Otto’s cautionary quote, the perverse side of me wanted to actually see how laws are made, so I visited the largest sausage making factory in the continental United States:

U.S. Capitol Building: Where Sausage is Made (in the U.S.A.)

After a lot of waiting in lines and surviving three security check points, I entered the House chamber, which was nearly empty -- except for the four representatives who were introducing legislation. One of the speakers, a House Rep. from Illinois was proposing a bill that had something to do with steel production, but I can’t quite remember, since I was nodding off intermittently. Granted, it was just after lunch, but the Congressman’s speech was far from inspiring. The whole time, or the times I was fully conscious, all I could think about was the Kids in the Hall’s short, yet twisted avant-garde comedy sketch, “Sausages.”

When I wasn’t replaying the sketch in my mind, I was imagining real sausage being made.


After enjoying a cat nap in the House chamber, I was Supreme Court bound. I wanted to see where laws are unmade by activist judges, who overturn laws made by activist legislators who passed laws that were unconstitutional in the first place.

The U.S. Supreme Court: Where Sausage is UnMade (in the U.S.A.)

The Supreme Court chamber was blocked off by a rope, but onlookers were permitted to look inside the court chamber and take pictures. As I looked around the empty chamber, all I could think of was the quote from Jon Stewart’s historical textbook, “America”:

“Jesus, what a sausage fest.” Sandra Day O’Conner ’83 (from John Stuart’s “America”)