Conyers out

  • 5 December 2017
  • NormanL
Conyers out

The wave of sexual misconduct allegations has claimed Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers, one of the most senior politicians in Congress. Conyers is resigning his seat immediately, and has urged voters to elect his son, John Conyers III, in his place.

While we will weep few tears over Congress losing the services of one of its most liberal members, particularly one who has warmed a congressional seat for over half a century, we are struck by the nepotism angle. Conyers the Younger may make a good candidate. But House seats are not a species of family property that can be handed down like silver through the generations (and yes, we are well aware that the practice of sons following fathers, wives following husbands, and so on, is a long, tawdry practice).

Immediate attention now turns to Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold, who is now known to have paid out $84,000 in taxpayer money to settle harassment claims (money he says he will repay).

Congress was once known as the "last plantation," where staffers worked long hours for low pay in the service of bosses who were, as often as not, utterly beastly in their conduct. That image was cleaned-up, to an extent, in recent years and there are many honorable people serving today.

But there is still a very long way to go before all elected members of Congress act like the stewards of a sacred public trust, rather than hoodlums bent on feeding their egos and appetites.