Think About It: shutting down the wrong thing

Each week brings a slew of new stories about our government reporting serious allegations of dysfunction and if not corruption, the appearance of corruption at worst and undue influence at best. Toss in antics of high school yard bullies and mean girls turned into elected representatives to the House of Representatives and we are watching a stupid version of “Animal House.”

“Don’t they know who I am,” reportedly lamented Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, as she was being escorted out of a theatre for being disruptive.

Apparently if they did, it did not matter to the patrons who came to see the show.

That Boebert was dancing in place and vaping around children and at least one pregnant woman sitting directly behind her, did matter. The escort was called when she failed to respond to requests to behave.

Boebert is 36 years old, old enough to be President.

Then, there is Florida Representative Matt Gaetz who has taken on the full-time job of torturing Speaker of the House Keven McCarthy. Gaetz maneuvered McCarthy into accepting a House rules provision allowing one person to bring a measure to the House to turn the speaker out of his position.

Gaetz leaves copies of such a measure around bathrooms for the press or anyone else to pick up.

Gaetz occasionally blusters in what appear to be attention-getting statements such as one made to a group at the recent Iowa State Fair. He said, “that only through force can change be made in corrupt Washington, D.C.” I do not know what he meant, but I doubt he meant a force for good in the current environment of handing out threats like free samples at Costco.

Gaetz is 41 years old and should know better.

The point is these two people have more power than they can responsibly handle. They are part of a small group of elected representatives intent on shutting down the government regardless of the need and consequences.

Although some gossipmongers have said the point of their antics is to have fun while preventing governing.

I suppose it would be fun if it was a comedy series on television or serious “Game of Thrones-like show.”

Preventing governing is serious. Institutions of government keep the wheels on the train and the tracks under the wheels whether it is our defense of the homeland or our social security checks.

Important world monitors look at the USA and lower important financial ratings when we cannot govern the most basic of our institutions.

Where are the serious people doing productive negotiation, budget management, repair, and innovation?

Indictment redux

Meanwhile, New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez and his wife have been indicted for allegedly accepting bribes in return for using his considerable influence as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to unduly favor a foreign country, in this case Egypt.

This is the second time Menendez has been indicted for a quid pro quo activity.

The first in 2015 ended in a hung jury in 2017 and was not retried. He was “severely admonished” by the Senate Ethics Committee.

Reportedly, a new search of his home revealed suit pockets and a safe full of cash along with gold bars plus a Mercedes Benz which was allegedly given to his wife.

Menendez explained he kept cash on hand because he worried about government confiscation of bank accounts which had occurred in Cuba.

Giggle. We cannot be blamed for thinking it was a reach since Menendez has been a U.S. senator since 2007 and a House of Congress Representative the prior 13 years.

Menendez is 69 years old, old and experienced enough to know right from wrong.

Menendez must be disappointed that half if not more by now of his Senate colleagues are calling for his resignation this time around. Republicans have remained silent which must be ulcer inducing since it is a perfect time to point a finger at a senior Democrat under indictment.

However, they know it would be a crooked finger unless they urged former President Trump not to run since he has four criminal indictments. Trump also has two civil cases against him, one defamation related to sexual assault which he lost and one business fraud in process that is not looking good for him.

Where are the serious people?

At least two members of the Supreme Court have and are enjoying beautiful relationships with very rich people at the expense, apparently willingly so of the rich people. There are more laws about vaping in a crowded theatre and more ethical expectations if not rules about secretly accepting expensive gifts from rich people in the Senate than any such legal or ethical constraints on members of the Supreme Court.

Again, I ask, where are the serious people doing productive negotiation, budget management, repair and innovation? Governing is the serious business of our country and should not be as vulnerable as it seems to the whims of a few who care not or at least care more for their own gratification or glorification.

We have many institutions needed to serve a diverse geographical, people and political nation — defense, homeland security, trade, health care, education, Medicare, Social Security, ports of entry, food safety, drugs and more.

At some point in our lives, we have benefited from each of these whether it is an invisible thread like food safety or directly through access to health care.

My guess is many readers are saying “yes, but what about natural disasters, border security, income disparity, Fentanyl overdoses, the national debt and deficit” and more. I agree. What about doing the work to solve all those things? We have difficult problems that will go unsolved if we do not have a functioning government.

We must find, elect, and support those willing to do the hard work in a democracy in challenging times and shut down high school bullies and mean girls, criminals and those willing to sell their democratic souls.

Too bad it is not a comedy series.

Bertha Cooper, an award-winning featured columnist with the Sequim Gazette, spent her career years in health care administration, program development and consultation and is the author of the award-winning “Women, We’re Only Old Once.” Cooper and her husband have lived in Sequim more than 20 years. Reach her at