New Congress

If you follow this blog you know I am what can be described as a political wonk.  I like politics, I like the fight of it all and I like days like yesterday.  Maybe it is the Liturgist in me but I like all of the ceremony of the swearing in of the new Congress.  The peaceful transfer of government from one party to another that has been going on here in America for more than 200 years.  The sad thing is not many people were watching.  It is also the one day when everyone in Congress seems to like each other.  We shall see how long that lasts.

Unlike some, I hope that the Congress is successful.  I say this because if they are successful then we as a country will be successful.  Do I agree with everything, no and I am sure most people would feel the same way.  The bottom line is we have to get to work and roll up oursleves.  We did not get here alone and we will not get out of this alone.

Just some observations from yesterday.  I was flipping back and forth between CSpan 1 and CSpan 2 one carries the House and the other the Senate.  There is a very big difference between the way the two houses conduct themselves.  For example, the new members of the Senate are sworn in, in groups of four, at the rostrum by the President of the Senate, the Vice President.  Their names are called in alphabetical order and they are escorted by another Senator, serving or not, to be sworn in.  Some carried Bibles and others did not.  I did make note that there are three books on the desk where the President of the Senate sits.  I could not make out the titles of two of them but the top one was the Holy Bible.  It was all quite orderly.

Then the House.  Whilst all of the members were checking in the place was a mad house, but in a good way!  Families of members and the members themselves roaming around chatting.  One interesting thing that happens in the Senate as well is that former members have floor privileges for life.  I would assume this to mean they are welcome on the floor of the House and the Senate, and several were there.

The election of the new Speaker takes place by putting the names in nomination then each name is called and they vote, this takes time so I started to do other things.  The Speaker is elected and, in this case, he is escorted to the rostrum by a delegation including the outgoing speaker.  I tweeted that the new Speaker had not even gotten to the rostrum yet and he was already crying…  I poked fun at him on ones hand but on the other hand I was quite impressed by him.  He is for all purposes, the second most powerful man in the country maybe even the world and he is not afraid to show his emotions, and it was emotional.  I just hope this is not what will happen each time he takes the chair!

The gavel was passed and off they went very orderly and very liturgical.  I also find it interesting that they send greeting to the Senate and the President to let them know they are ready to get to business and they also send delegations to them to bring the greetings.  Very cool.

So we are off and running with the 112th Congress.  I have much hope that things will get done.  Will I agree with everything, nope, but I will say that regardless of party they are all patriots and all have the best interests of Americans at heart, I would hope they do anyway.

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