In a world where war is waging, disease is ravaging, poverty is crippling and homelessness is out of control, does it really matter all that much whether a senator wears a suit and tie?
Well, yeah. It does.
No one understands that better than Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who, despite his respect for decorum, relaxed the Senate’s dress code rules to accommodate another member of Congress’ upper chamber.
Even when other elected leaders derided Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman for ditching the traditional suit and tie in favor of the just-finished-mowing-the-lawn look, Schumer had Fetterman’s back.
“Senators are able to choose what they wear on the Senate floor,” Schumer said, announcing the rule change. “I will continue to wear a suit.”
Who would have thought that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell would turn out to be the voice of reason?
“I think I’m pretty safe in saying most if not all Republican senators think we ought to dress up to go to work,” McConnell said last week.
“So I can’t imagine that we’re going to be wearing jeans on the Senate floor anytime soon.”
McConnell, for once, is saying something that’s not too hard to get on board with: We ought to dress up to go to work.
How hard is that?
Of course, the dynamic changed when the coronavirus pandemic forced much of America to work from home.
But as workers ease back into the office, particularly on hybrid schedules, adhering to pre pandemic dress codes for two or three days a week isn’t too much to ask.
Pajama bottoms and fuzzy slippers are fine for a Zoom meeting at the dining room table, but not for an office meeting with the boss and a high-level client.
And when it comes to the U.S. Senate, the American people are the boss — and the high-level client
So, if you want a job where you can dress like a high school volleyball coach, then be a high school volleyball coach.
If you want a job where you can dress like a Walmart stock clerk, then, by all means, be a Walmart stock clerk.
But if you want a job in the United States Senate, if you want to be one of only100 people elected to represent the 50 states of the union, then wear a suit. Wear a tie.
It’s not asking a lot. I want my lawyer to wear a suit when he’s representing me in court. I want my pastor to wear a suit when he’s giving the eulogy at a relative’s funeral. I want my favorite anchorman to wear a suit when he’s sitting behind a desk and giving me the news.
And I want my senator to wear a suit when he’s voting on Capitol HIll
Even George Santos, the lying congressman from Long Island, wears a suit most of the time
But Fetterman wants to raise the stakes. Instead of pulling a pinstripe suit out of his closet, and shining a pair of wingtips, Fetterman decided to get crude and set conditions.
“If those jagoffs in the House stop trying to shut our government down, and fully support Ukraine, then I will save democracy by wearing a suit on the Senate floor next week,” Fetterman said in a tweet.
Ironically, Fetterman is wearing a suit and tie in his Twitter, or X, profile picture.
So let’s review. It’s now okay for a senator to dress like Bill Belichick after football practice on the sacred Senate floor, but it’s a suspendable offense for a Texas high school student to wear dreadlocks to math or biology class.
Who knows what Darryl George, 17, thinks about the Senate dress code. He just knows it’s wrong — and probably racist — for the Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu to suspend him for wearing his locs to school in a ponytail.
Darryl was kicked out of class for violating the school’s grooming code the same week the state’s CROWN Act, a law prohibiting discrimination based on one’s hair texture or protected hairstyle, went into effect.
Crown is an acronym for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.”
“He’s very anxious, very aggravated right now because he keeps getting punished for something that’s irrelevant to his education,” Darryl’s mother, Darresha George, told CNN. “I want to see their policy change and stop being discriminatory against Black kids.”
Darryl was also in violation of the school’s dress code for wearing frayed jeans. Although he took a righteous stance on the hair ban, he willingly changed his pants to something more appropriate.
It didn’t take an act of Congress to make him come around.
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