5 Things Congress Should Give Up For Lent

Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, the Christian fast undertaken for 40 days leading up to Easter. It is meant as a time of self-denial to prepare for the return of Jesus Christ, acknowledging his suffering, death, and resurrection.

The Pope is giving up the Papacy. Here are five things that Congress should give up:

1. Greed:

 

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A provision hidden in an unrelated bill will usually get overlooked. It will bring a benefit to a state or district, but do nothing for the overall good of the country.

Country first. Let it go this time. No games or sleight of hand tricks.

2. Self-interest:

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2014 will be here before you know it, and that means campaigning needs to start now. How bills are evaluated, decisions on votes made, and words spoken are all based on the end goal of being re-elected.

Country first. Doing what’s right will have a greater impact on chances for winning than being self-serving.

3. Pandering to special interest groups:

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Money rules politics. Whether true or not, that is a generally held perception. Special interest groups provide a great deal, if not the majority of campaign funds. Special interest groups, because of money and organization, have more direct access to lawmakers.

During Lent, constituents should be the only special interest group and what is best for the country the only concern.

4. Ego:

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The ego is a marvelous mental entity. It can be beneficial when it drives actions that benefit humanity or society. Often however, ego is fed by power. The need to acquire power to feed the ego can be overwhelming and consume the total of one’s energy. Ego gets in the way of doing what is right.

Making decisions based on what will be best for the country will also lead to power. Knowing you are doing what is proper should drive the decision, not the fact it will bring power.

Lent is about fasting. Members of Congress should let their egos fast.

5. The party line:

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Rhetoric is standing in the way of problem-solving. It has become more important to keep the party faithful fired up than to rationally discuss problems and their solutions. After all, calm and respectful debate aimed at cooperation, collaboration, and compromise does not generate media coverage.

Country first. The party will always be there. The country may not if Congress does not solve the serious problems facing it.

Forty days is not a long time. However, forsaking these five things for that length of time – especially now – could have a substantial positive impact on the country. Who knows, the idea of getting things done may feel so good that Congress will leave these outside a little longer.