Crabs in a Bucket: Welcome to Congress

Photo by Mark Stebnicki on

Observing our Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Washington, D.C. – “lawmakers” being a generous term in a time when they do much more posturing than lawmaking – I can’t help but think of them as little more than crabs in a bucket. Sadly, it is one of the few ways in which they ever act in a truly bi-partisan manner.

In case you didn’t know, if a bunch of crabs are placed in a bucket, a sort of groupthink emerges that disallows any of the crabs to climb out of said bucket. For as soon as one tries to ascend, the others will latch onto the climber and pull it back down with the others.

I see this happen almost constantly in the bucket that is the Capitol Building primarily in two ways. Firstly, it seems that any time a member of either party attempts to think for herself and – God forbid – buck party orthodoxy or, even worse, attempt to work with members of the opposite party to actually accomplish something other than protecting the likelihood of her personal reelection or party ascendency during the next election cycle, all of the other representatives or senators of her party grab ahold with their pincers and drag her back down into their pathetic muck of obstinate opposition.

Secondly, and this applies to both parties as well, when one of the parties achieves a ruling majority, the minority party immediately adopts obstructionism and undermining as their modus operandi until they are able to re-obtain the majority for themselves. At which time, the party roles simply switch, the cycle begins again, and the entire country wallows in stagnancy in the sludge at the bottom of the bucket.

As a result of this congressional do nothingness, in recent years presidents of both parties in order to accomplish any of the promises they made while campaigning have had little recourse but to resort to dictating a slew of executive orders in a less-than-democratic fashion that are typically reversed with head-spinning alacrity the minute a president of the opposite party assumes the office. I totally understand the place of legitimate opposition in a two-party democratic construct, but this persistent result of one step up and two steps back is no way to run a government.

Just so many crabs in the bucket.

We can do better.

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Published by tyfroth

My primary passion and vocation is teaching literature and composition on both the high school and university level. My avocation is writing novels that explore contemporary themes/issues relevant to both young adult and adult readers.

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