Opinion: The importance of Congressional consequences

Opinion: The importance of Congressional consequences

Photo courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons

Lauren Brennan, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Tension in Washington has been at an all-time high over the last five years, with members of each party taking shots at each other both in-person and online. During the last Presidency, congressmen and congresswomen frequently debated on online forums such as Twitter and Facebook. However, many of these disagreements were nothing more than 150-word messages going back and forth on a political issue. After the 2020 election, the animosity between the parties only increased. Eventually, we saw the breaking point when the Capitol was stormed on Jan. 6, 2021. 

   With members becoming more “woke” on each side of the aisle, more and more pandering has occurred to draw the attention of the younger generation, often with politicians connecting with younger constituents through social media, such as Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA) on TikTok and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY14). Most of these posts were playful videos directed to draw people in and make viewers hear them out. However, in Nov. of this year, a disturbing video was posted by Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ4) that depicted violence against fellow members of Congress and the President. After this video spread like wildfire across social media, Gosar had to face the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives for breaking reasonable ethics. With a vote of 223-207, it was decided that Gosar would face censure along with being removed from his committee positions. Censure, a form of public shaming in the House, has not been used since 2010 with Charles B. Rangel. Gosar joined fellow Republican House member, Marjorie Green Taylor, who also lost her committee seats in Feb. of this year after seemingly supporting violence against democrats. 

   The most recent divisive issue to take place in Washington is with Representative Lauren Boebert (R-Colo), after she made Islamophobic remarks toward fellow House member Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn). This led fellow members of the “squad,” a group of young Democratic representatives, to call for further punishment against Boebert, who has already faced mass scrutiny for alleged misuse of campaign funds.

As members of Congress continue to test the limits, I expect that these types of punishments will only continue to increase in size and severity. With censure becoming more and more common, I believe we will see the polarizing political arena calm down within the House. If not, then we will see members be held accountable by their constituents, who can vote them out if they deem them unfit to represent the community. Overall, I believe these types of punishments are good. They set standards and expectations for those responsible for running our government so it isn’t a complete mad house on the Hill. Just as teenagers face consequences for their actions, it only seems fair that those who are meant to be our representatives in government do too.