This morning during their meeting, the House Republicans broke into a rendition of “Amazing Grace.” Representative Michael Burgess was particularly impressed that they all knew the words of all three verses. I suspect that’s because they have all spent a whole lot more time in church than they have in, say, economics class. And if they learned “Amazing Grace” from going to church, well at least they got something good out of it. But let’s face it, this outburst of song is both creepy and funny.
The creepy factor is deep. Why were they singing at work? And why were they singing about redemption? The Congress of the United States is not involved in a holy war. And if they were it would be pathetic: a holy war over the right of medical device manufacturers to not pay a small excise tax? Would anyone really think that God is on their side in such a small minded battle? If God doesn’t care about children starving all over the world, why would he care about a 2.7% tax on medical devices? And the idea that these people would think they need religious strength rather than simple technocratic skill shows that the Republican Party has managed to jump every shark available.
When he was told about the outbreak of song, Democratic Representative Gerry Connolly joked, “Isn’t that usually sung at funerals?” And he should know, because he went to school to become a priest. I’m sure the irony is lost on the Republicans. Representative John Fleming responded to the comment by saying, “Well, that’s really a level of cynicism that’s surprising even for Democrats, to be honest with you.” That’s from a representative of the most cynical major party in American history. But enough of that, here is Elvis’ great version of the song:
The whole thing gets more amusing. It turns out that the song was started by Representative Steve Southerland. Before becoming a Representative, he was—Wait for it!—a funeral director! So he must know a wake when he sees one. He’s from the part of Florida that might as well be Alabama. And there isn’t much to say for his political career. He’s a religious nut who got elected in the “libertarian” Tea Party wave of 2010 and he’ll stay in the House until he retires or is caught in a sex scandal. Meanwhile, he leads the caucus in song.
One nice thing about being a Democrat is that at least our representatives are smart and even funny. When Gerry Connolly was asked if the Democrats would sing a song at their meeting today, he said, “Here Comes The Sun.” I hope he’s right.