Travesty: farcical or grotesque imitation; mockery; parody.
I know, the World English Dictionary doesn’t specifically include the word “Congress” in its definition, but what the heck, “farcical or grotesque imitation; mockery; parody” is close enough for government work . . . or for a government that does NOT work. Such as ours. Evidence two events from just yesterday:
Mitch McConnell was gloating over the fact that seven Democrats sided with the Republicans to reject cloture and block the nomination of Debo Adegbile to head the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. Why the gloat? Because Adegbile was, first of all, an Obama nominee; second, because Adegbile is, in McConnell’s words, grossly incompetent. Why? Because several years ago Adegbile, at the time an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, managed to get the death sentence of a Black Nationalist commuted. The Black Nationalist was convicted in 1982 of slaying a white police officer. The commutation was, at the time, clearly a legal accomplishment . . . but one which today brands Adegbile as incompetent to head the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. President Obama described the nominee’s appointment blockage by the Senate as a “travesty based on wildly unfair character attacks.” I couldn’t agree more; in fact, the words “farcical or grotesque imitation; mockery; parody” perfectly describe and define both Mitch McConnell and the 51 additional Senators who blocked Adegbile’s nomination.
The milestone reached was pathetic, yes indeed; it was indeed also “farcical or grotesque imitation; mockery; parody” — it was the fiftieth attempt by House Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. The estimated cost of those fifty repeal efforts made in the last three years is some $72,000.000 — another way to spell Travesty, seems to me.
And of course those two examples of political stupidity are only one pair — shreds — of the myriad of never-ending nonsense emanating these day from Washington. One has to begin to wonder just how long a nation governed by “farcical or grotesque imitation; mockery; parody” can endure.
Sometimes I think Emily Dickinson, 150 years ago, summed up the consequences of this day’s congressional bastion of political stupidity and irreverent chicanery when she wrote:
A single Human soul
By failure of irreverence
Is guilty of the whole.
As guileless as a Bird
As graphic as a star
Till the suggestion sinister
Things are not what they are —
Sadly for all of us, the chance that things in Washington will ever rise above that failure of irreverence, that suggestion sinister, seems so remote as to be virtually impossible. And:
THAT. IS. TRAVESTY.