Saturday Morning Civics Lesson For The Tea Party

Terrance Heath

I didn’t think it was possible, but I found something more pathetic than John Boehner scrambling for GOP support for his debt limit bill, only to end up postponing the vote indefinitely. More pathetic even than Boehner telling is caucus to “get their asses in line” and vote for his bill, only to tell his caucus the next day to “get their asses in line” for a big kiss — if it’ll get them to vote for his bill.

What could be more pathetic? They may have brought Boehner to his knees, but the tea partiers literally don’t know what they’re doing in the legislative process.

Of course, this is nothing new. Ignorance of how bills become laws — or that the constitution establishes a legislative body and a legislative process for all that stuff the constitution doesn’t specifically mention — goes all the way up to what passes for tea party leadership.

And usually I end explaining what I thought we all learned in our eighth grade civics classes, if not over our Saturday morning cereal. Article I of the constitution establishes Congress as a legislative body, and in Section 7 lays out the process by which legislation passes both houses of Congress, makes its way to the president’s desk, and … Well, you know how it ends if you saw that first video.

Until we can get middle school civics teachers to storm Capitol Hill en masse, can we at least ask anyone in a congressional office who shares a hallway with a tea partier to walk over with a laptop or smartphone and show them this video?

It might help if you take over a bowl of breakfast cereal for them to eat while they watch it. At least, that’s how I remember learning it.

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