Monday, January 28, 2013

Seinfeld to End the Gridlock (A Festivus for the Rest of us)

Jack Neworth and I rarely agree on anything. He thinks the United States should control guns. I think that more guns control crime. He still hates Bush for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I think President Obama is Bush with more bombast, plus a lot of lift from the mainstream media. I think Congressman "Waxman the Taxman" is the worst, but almost everyone in Santa Monica chants “Long Live Henry Waxman!”
There are things that we do have in common. For one, we are both homo sapiens sapiens. We both live in the same Congressional district, the newly drawn (or gerrymandered!) 33rd, which takes in my South Bay and his Santa Monica home all the way to Malibu and Agoura Hills. There is something else that we agree on: Seinfeld is one funny show. I still watch the reruns just before I go to sleep at night.
Neworth is a rare breed of liberal, someone who is willing to listen or read someone else’s opinions, even if he thinks they are outrageous or unbelievable. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!) When he opened his recent column with a reference to Seinfeld, I could not help but share with him my favorite episode: “The Old Man”. In this episode, Jerry wants to play “good Samaritan” to an old grump named Sid Fields, who does nothing but curse and berate the comedian, only at the end to ask him: “Would you change my diaper?” followed by uproarious laughter. The old man has been playing Seinfeld for a fool the whole time.
I was thrilled and relieved when Neworth wrote back to me: “Hilarious! I have never seen this episode before!” Instead of bickering and arguing, we were laughing. ­­­­­A liberal and a conservative found some common ground. When I pitched to him the idea that perhaps Seinfeld can ease the gridlock in Washington -- what Seinfeld creator Larry David might call “Curb your Partisan Enthusiasm” of our current leaders -- Neworth was not so sure. Then again, the show about “Nothing” could be the perfect cure for a Congress which has done nothing for the last two years, and make us laugh in the process.
Perhaps we should send Kosmo Kramer to Congress, where he can stand on the floor of the House of Representatives and shout “Serenity Now!”Let’s just hope that he doesn’t wander into a room of computers, or a caucus of Republicans, for that matter. Maybe we could call in George Costanzo’s boss to the US Senate, New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, where he can “blooooooooooow them away” with his own self-involved, self-absorbed filibusters about chicken hot-dogs and why his wife forgot to pack him salami for lunch. I am certain that both sides of the aisle will move for cloture very quickly. One grating monologue, and filibuster reform would be on its way.

Currently, all we see in the news is a lot of Beltway bitterness and backbiting. Every time one politician tries to make peace, the other sides growls: “You can stuff your “sorrys” in a sack, mister!” And we all know what that means! Henry Waxman wasn’t my “pick” for Congress, but that does not make me an animal, does it? Maybe if I had sent him a second “Thank you”,he would not be so mad at me. Or perhaps he thinks that I am one of “The Devils! The Devils!” Perhaps if he and his spend-thrift colleagues went into a coma, --- like Elaine’s visiting Colombian priest after he wasscared by a devilishly painted Puddy after a hockey game -- then politicians would spend less time fighting and more time leaving us alone. 

Of course, I am not the first one to suggest that Washington politicians, especially the Republicans, need to have more fun. In a recent op-ed, former Reagan speech writer Peggy Noonan told her conservative colleagues : “It’s Pirate time.” Up until recently, the GOP Establishment has been whining:“But I don’t wanna be a pirate!”, just like Jerry Seinfeld, when Kramer’s low-talking girlfriend showcased her “puffy shirt” for him to wear on a morning talk show for all to see. (By the way, the GOP has a “stuffy shirt” problem: old white men with money, but what about a "Festivus for the rest of us"?)
Republicans want to cut spending. Why not call it “shrinkage”?Democrats want to grow government. Why not call them the “Bubble Boy Party"? Besides, everyone wants to make sure that someone is there to change grandpa’s diaper before he dies. Voters want the government to be there to care for “Nanna” and your“Uncle Leo”, too. (Jerry, Hello!)
If you think about it long enough, it starts to make sense. “We the People” are the “master of our domains”, and just because a Democrat or a Republican wins a local contest to represent us in Congress, that does not mean that they can put their hands anywhere they want to. They need to make the whole muffin of legislating work before they can start cutting the tops off of government waste, if you know what I mean.

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