Why congress critters don’t represent you…

The Biblical “tens and hundreds” system has been replaced by the corporate media…
Under Biblical organization it was not possible to vote for someone you did not know… —Editor
Biblical organization and chain of command… Head of each household>>>10 families>>>100 families>>>1000 families>>>The king>>>The Law of God…
I Chronicles 29:6 (ESV) One nation under God…
… Then the leaders of fathers’ houses made their freewill offerings, as did also the leaders of the tribes, the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, and the officers over the king’s work…

What’s the matter with Congress? Not enough farmers and cowboys (interactive)

news.yahoo.com

chris wilson

By Chris Wilson    17 Jan 2013

Most Americans seem to agree that Congress is seeped in a primordial soup of dysfunction, to put it lightly. When it comes to how things got to this point, there are more theories than there are representatives to theorize about. Some say money has corrupted lawmakers, others say the electoral system is broken, and one guy even thinks the 435-member House is too small.

Most of these explanations are agnostic as to who the members of Congress actually are. As we gear up for another round of hearty outrage at our legislators—there’s a debt-ceiling vote coming up—I would like to propose an alternative explanation: If Americans want broad agreements from Congress, they are electing the wrong type of people. It’s not the system. It’s us.

To measure how the makeup of Congress has changed over the decades and centuries, I turned to the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, which maintains short biographies of nearly every one of the 12,000 people to serve in the U.S. legislature since day one of the country.

Browsed at random, the biographies have roughly the entertainment value of an Ikea assembly guide, so I downloaded them all and put together a small search engine to scan them and look for how common different words are over time.

Here, for example, is how often the word “war” pops up in the bios of members in each of the 113 sessions of Congress since 1789:

congress critter bios war

Mentions of ‘war’ in congressional biographies

And here is the frequency of the word “farm”:

congress critter bios farm

Mentions of ‘farm’ in congressional biographies

You can try it yourself here: Type in anything you like and see how often it shows up. Click a bar to see members who match the search for that particular two-year session of Congress, and click the name of the members to read the bio.

congress critter bios search

If you play around with this for a moment, you quickly see that Congress is subject to the same demographic trends as the country, though perhaps on a somewhat gentrified frequency. If you type in “university college”—you want to capture either word here to get everyone—you see that only half to two-thirds of biographies mention higher education through 1900. Only in the last few decades have these words become universal.

Or try “lawyer,” and see how that blossoms since 1950. (The word “attorney,” on the other hand, peaks in the 65th congress between 1917 and 1919.)

So is that the problem with Congress? Too much schoolin’ and too many lawyers? Or two few farmers? Or too few soldiers and farmers? You would think educated people well versed in the law would make excellent legislators, and those Army commercials lead me to understand that military service breeds excellent leadership skills.

Then again, you might also think a legislator’s primary job was to write legislation. It is not. Their job is to agree on legislation.

My theory for Congress’s dysfunction, only loosely burdened by evidence, is that its members are too heavily staffed with lawyers and bureaucrats, leading to a culture in which compromise is of a lower priority than political victory. If you spend any time in a state legislature, you see a different kind of assembly: people with fulltime jobs unaffiliated with the law who spend a few months a year in the state capitol. The nutjob quotient is decidedly higher, but so is the probability that unusual and useful coalitions will coalesce when the opportunity arises. (Of course, in just as many cases, everything falls apart in the state legislatures as well.)

Thus, the word I nominate as most indicative of Congress’ woes is “employed,” given its decline in usage over the past 30 years. I say this not to be snide—I trust virtually all members of Congress have held down a job—but because the word typically corresponds to members who worked in an industry outside government. (The 1920s Texas representative Claude Benton Hudspeth, for example, was “employed as a cowboy.”)
Mentions of ’employed’ in congressional biographies.

congress critter bios employed

But there are better words out there, and I want your theories for what single word best captures the present state of Congress. Each time you search for a word, it updates the tweet button to the right of the search bar. When you find one you like, tweet it out and I’ll compile the most popular searches for an update to this column.

Well educated fools…

Joshua 24:31 (WEB) Godly government will not last unless it is passed on to the children…
… Israel served Yahweh all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, and had known all the work of Yahweh, that he had worked for Israel…

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