KATIE ZERR: Poll shows Congress really unpopular


Many challenges face our Congress in the next couple of years including setting and adhering to a budget, finding solutions to the escalating violence in this country, and finding a balance between spending and revenue.

After doing nothing in the recent years, this Congress has much to make up for in the next four. No matter on which side of the political line a person sits, it is nearly unanimous agreement that the last Congress was one of the least productive in history.

The national ranking of Congress is at an all time low. In a recent poll conducted just for the fun of it, Public Policy Polling asked Americans which of two choices they liked better. One of those choices was Congress, the others were considered unpopular or unlikable.

It was quite eye opening to see that those who were polled liked traffic jams, used car salesmen, cockroaches, lice and colonoscopies better than Congress.

But Congress held its own against Castro, STDs, the Kardashians, and Lindsey Lohan.

The poll may have been in jest, but it also says something about how Americans are feeling. Congress brought this on themselves and this writer for one does not feel one bit sorry for any of them.

Immigration, rights for those with alternate lifestyles and caring for the sick and poor are just the tip of the iceberg of issues that will be battled in the halls of Congress.

Members of Congress must come to the realization that these issues are not going to go away. There will never be a time when gays are back in the closet or there are no foreign- born people wanting to live in the United States. Answers to these problems need to be found, not sound bites to please constituents who won’t tolerate anyone or any line of thought that is different than theirs.

As the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) again emerges into debate, members of Congress must open their minds to the fact that when a domestic partner, whether it be a man or woman, white or Native American, gay or straight, illegal or legal, is a victim of domestic abuse they deserve to be helped.

The VAWA was first passed in 1994 and was reauthorized twice with little problem. But last April, when the Senate handed its reauthorization bill to the House, some members disagreed with new provisions that expanded protections for gays and lesbians, Native Americans, and undocumented immigrants.

House conservatives introduced a bill that removed those provisions. This gave Democrats new ammunition to show the country the callous and backward actions of their conservative counterparts and use the “War on Women” card in the national election. It was an issue latched on to by liberal members of Congress and became part of the battle cry against conservatives.

Through the VAWA a new generation of families and justice system professionals has come to understand that domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking are crimes that our society will not tolerate.

Community-coordinated responses to domestic violence and sexual assault have been brought together for the first time. The recognition and support for the efforts of domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers and other community organizations nationwide working everyday to end this violence has come into the limelight.

VAWA and like legislation fund programs for federal, tribal, state and local responses to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking, and support lifesaving emergency shelters and services for domestic violence victims and other crime victims.

And yet a partisan Congress refuses to find solutions to the problems that keep this legislation from passing.

When looking at just one of the issues that a divided Congress has refused to address, is it any wonder that in one poll, 69 percent of American liked Brussels sprouts more than Congress?



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