29 More Ways to Punish Congress

October 1, 2013

Most working Americans know that when you don’t do your job, you get fired.

Members of Congress are proving otherwise today, collecting a paycheck despite the fact that they have utterly failed in their jobs and failed the American people. We talked to folks — bartenders, schoolteachers, managers — for thoughts on how to punish our elected leaders. On Monday we published nine ideas.  Some of them are already in action, with acts of civil disobedience at the World War II Memorial on the national Mall today. Washington Post reporter Michael Ruane saw veterans knocking down the shutdown barricades to get to their memorial.

We’ve now received hundreds of other ideas on what else we the people can do to members of Congress. Some are publishable, many are not. All of them express the outrage many of us are feeling on this first day of the federal government shutdown. Here are 29 from our readers:

1. Launch a nationwide, all-or-nothing referendum to remove every, single one of them from office by year’s end.

2. Prosecute every last one of them for lack of fiduciary responsibility. And while they are waiting for the trials, they should be held without bond as flight risks.

3. Take away their dinner reservations all over town and make them stand at the back of the line.

4. No Redskins or Caps tickets.

5. Henceforth all members of Congress will no longer be allowed in a D.C. cab or limo

6. Let Angela Merkel’s German government (or Sweden’s, or Iceland’s, etc.) run our country. (Our “legislators” could run some banana republic that loses a lottery.)

7. Hundreds of thousands of citizens should take to the streets – breaking windows in both the Senate and House buildings and taking them over and ejecting the current inhabitants. Just like the 60’s.Or storm the barricades. Just take Washington away from the politicians. [See how some WWII vets actually did storm some barricades today.]

8. Give a body hair removal treatment to all male members, involving wax, that’s named for the country with Rio de Janeiro as a capital. [This is the best I could do to make the suggestion publishable.]

9. Subject them to the Barney theme song 24/7.

10. Start pulling names out of a hat. Each member who is pulled from the hat is dismissed from Congress permanently. No paycheck, no pension, no health care. The opposing party gets that member’s vote. If you do this every day, doubling the number of names pulled each time, a solution should be found in less than 11 days.

11. A march on Washington, just like 1963.

12. Because in England, the queen has authority to recall the government, one reader suggested we appoint a queen, in this case Queen Latifah, to override Congress. [This reader, an older gentleman, firmly believes Queen would make better decisions. I agree.]

13. Lock the entire Congress, minus any congressional help, in the Capitol until they pass a budget — Vatican-style.

14. Reopen the Page School.  Let the kids run the government while the Congressmen and women return for remedial education.

15. Require that Congressmen and women, who get paid during the shutdown, reimburse from their own pockets the federal employees who do not get paid.

16. Organize picketing in front of Congress members’ private homes so their spouses and children can see what the public thinks of them.

17. Change to a parliamentary system in which the entire legislative branch has to stand for new elections if they cannot or refuse to govern.

18. A mass recall election for Nov. 12.

19. Charge them a stiff and growing penalty for each day the government is closed.

20. Demand proof from every member of Congress that they actually do have a brain and know how to use it. They must submit, at their own cost, a brain scan by a qualified technician.

21. Every government employee should send members of Congress all the bills they can’t pay while they are furloughed. The members must pay off all the bills with their personal money, and each of their credit ratings should be bused down to 100.

22. Make them all live on food stamps for a year.

3. Fill the Capitol with stinkbugs. [Hey, did my 9-year-old and his little brother send in that one?]

24. Launch a true, grass-roots, nationwide, 100 percent, no-incumbent mandate, even if some really good people go.

25. Freeze their assets — no access to their money or any sort of income until America has a balanced budget.

26 Waterboarding.

27. Stop everything: air travel, military spending, Social Security checks. Stop it all and see how long they want to keep hurting the people.

28. Send them to Guantanamo Bay to debate the budget.

29. Term limits.

Petula is a columnist for The Washington Post's local team who writes about homeless shelters, gun control, high heels, high school choirs, the politics of parenting, jails, abortion clinics, mayors, modern families, strip clubs and gas prices, among other things.
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Mark Berman · October 1, 2013