The musical comedy 1776 features the song, “Sit Down, John“, during which the sweltering delegates to the Second Continental Congress plead for someone to “open up a window” while John Adams shouts “Vote for independency!”
By the end of the play, Mr. Adams has prevailed, and the delegates sign the Declaration of Independence. The United States of America becomes a sovereign nation, founded on the truths
that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
American law generally reflected the Declaration’s assertion that government existed to secure rights for a little more than a century.
Then, in 1902, Willis Haviland Carrier invented air conditioning. Twenty-six years later, its cooling power came to Congress, which had long before relocated to Washington, D.C., a city even more oppressively hot and humid than Philadelphia.
As many have observed, this innovation is coincident with the shift of American government from protecting rights to violating them. The paternalistic state arose when Washington became bearable, at least indoors, all year long.
Now what little freedom remains is threatened afresh.
The Washington Post reports this morning that members of Congress will now be expected to work five days a week. Recent tradition has been for Congress to convene for the week late on Tuesday and adjourn by afternoon on Thursday. The change means that the time during which Congress can make mischief will expand by two-thirds.
“I have bad news for you. … We will be working almost every day in January,” the Post quotes soon-to-be House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. “I know[;] it’s awful, isn’t it?”
In view of the Democrats’ agenda–a panoply of power grabs, like raising the minimum wage–awful is exactly what it is.
A second flood, a simple famine,
Plagues of locusts everywhere,
Or a cataclysmic earthquake,
I’d accept with some despair,
But, no, You sent us Congress.
Good God, Sir, was that fair?