As a full-time college student with a fellowship and a part-time job, my days and nights are filled to the brim with work. I go to bed extremely late and wake up as early as possible. The only way I survive my long and arduous days are with quick naps in the middle of the day. Being a U.S. representative, however, is much different. I’m sure their lives are filled with much more time consuming and stressful work, and it seems that they are determined to get their naps just like the rest of us. There’s nothing wrong with that – in fact, I encourage it so they can be more level headed when making decisions that will affect our everyday lives. I definitely know my naps help me in that way.
But I nap at home, not at work.
According to Politico, members of the Black Caucus have recently submitted a letter to the ethics committee to investigate the legality of Congress members sleeping in their offices.
Some members like Paul Ryan argue that this act of sleeping in their offices shows that they are hardworking and dedicated, but I know if I was found sleeping at my job it would not be seen as dedicated. I’d be fired for laziness, stealing from the company, and for the sheer audacity of my actions. Not only are these representatives stealing taxpayer dollars by getting free housing and amenities, but it’s a suspicious act altogether. A room full of politicians with no supervision will never give me an assured feeling.
CNN brought up another very real and terrifying issue that is directly affecting victims of sexual assault. With over 50 people reporting instances of sexual violence on capitol hill, nothing is scarier than having to stay late in the office to actually do work, with your abuser sleeping right next door. How are you supposed to stay concentrated on all you have to do with a very real threat looming over your head? If we aren’t going to actually take action and seek justice for victims, the least our government can do is ensure these victims have a safe work environment.
“Be extra careful of the male lawmakers who sleep in their offices — they can be trouble. Avoid finding yourself alone with a congressman or senator in elevators, late-night meetings or events where alcohol is flowing. And think twice before speaking out about sexual harassment from a boss — it could cost you your career.”
These were the rules that female representatives, staff, and interns would follow to keep themselves safe, according to the previously cited CNN article. At this point, it’s no longer mind blowing that even within our own government women can’t feel safe. We aren’t safe in our own beds, our schools, the workplace, and even within our government. From this one quote, it’s clear that these representatives are doing more than just “working and sleeping” in their offices. If they can’t be trusted around another human and complying with the laws regarding persons how can we trust them with making new laws. We can’t, we literally cannot and the congressional black caucus was right in questioning them and calling for an investigation.
If the people in power can’t act like adults and follow the same rules as everyone else, why should they be allowed to make them?