December 6, 2012

The moon in question. (NASA/Associated Press)

This might just pass the point of parody.

Congress, on Wednesday, passed a law removing the word “lunatic” from federal law, saying the term is outdated and does not reflect the science.

The New York Times reported that Representative Louie Gohmert (R-Tex) said in a statement, “not only should we not eliminate the word ‘lunatic’ from federal law when the most pressing issue of the day is saving our country from bankruptcy, we should use the word to describe the people who want to continue with business as usual in Washington.”

But he’s the sole outlier, and I’m sure something will happen to him after the next moon.

We understand this is not the correct scientific term now. But if Congress is really starting a trend towards more honest, medically accurate speaking, we are going to be here for a while. They still refer to each other as “esteemed colleagues” and “the Honorable,” even in cases when they look about ready to spit in one another’s eyes. They still form “working committees” which, really, if we’re going for the medically accurate term here, should be “dysfunctional committees.” They still go on recess, which sounds like something you call when you are fed up with all the childish shouting and want everyone to run for a bit and get it out of their systems. Actually, that can stay.

Removing ‘lunatic’ from legislation is one thing. Removing lunacy from legislation is something else entirely.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day.