It's so sad to watch the colossal amounts of time wasted in painfully over-extended House and Senate proceedings that get knowingly dragged out by the formalistic reliance of old men and women on stupid and arcane voting protocols, like the baseless and incessant demands for roll calls of the "ayes and nays." Or the fact that Senate procedural rules preclude President Biden's ability to include a $15 minimum wage as part of the pending relief package. We're watching arthritic aging in real time. These out-of-touch, fossilized and embittered people spend their days looking forward to the past.

Forget anything as complicated as abandoning the filibuster. These public servants can barely put one foot in front of the other and make their decrepit ways to their chambers and back, as their staffs labor to explain to them what little in the way of consequence or progress may have happened while they were on the floor chatting with their pals. Seniority has spawned--with a few notable exceptions, like Speaker Pelosi--senility, sycophancy, and pervasive paralysis in the once-hallowed, and now much-diminished, halls of the Capitol.

These pathetic poseurs perform for the benefit of their theoretical, but honestly indifferent and disinterested, "constituents." The repetitious, cantankerous showboating by new and old legislators alike, who play at "respectfully" addressing each other in stilted and meaningless language, serves only themselves. We'd all benefit if they would simply speak the plain truth, should they happen to stumble upon it, about the liars, traitors, and seditionists in their very midst.

Comity in Congress was killed by the Republicans in less than a decade, and there's only the faintest hope in some minds that all vestiges of duty, frankness, and honesty haven't also been extinguished. With straight faces and ultimate obliviousness, the newest entrants proudly confess that they hire staffs focused on communication and fundraising events rather than developing and advancing legislation, or doing the other critical committee work of Congress. Because all that really matters to them is the exposure and the bucks. Since the Supreme Court foolishly equated money with speech, it's the only thing these grifters care about. They know for certain that the worst possible mistake any of them can make is to fall short on their cash calls to their prospects and donors. The terribly sad question is, who will save us from ourselves and our worst instincts?

As millions continue to suffer and starve, as vaccines wait for distribution and are sometimes wasted, and as thousands of Americans die each day, these hypocrites and phonies continue to prance and play at their stupid and silly power games. Rand Paul refuses to wear a mask on the Senate floor. Lauren Boebert tries to bypass new metal detectors with her gun, and abuses the Capitol Police just days after the deadly January 6 debacle--which she supported and encouraged--killed one of their fellow officers. And yes, they had to have another party-line vote over fines for the idiots who refused to follow the new security rules.

There's no shame left among these reprobates and no end in sight to the damage they do every day to our country. Trump and his willing disciples replaced facts and function with a crass and dishonest methodology predicated on fear and favoritism. Any normal business run for even a day like the ongoing congressional clown show would be long gone and little missed.

Basic legislative steps, implementing simple solutions, unwinding Trump's many traumatic missteps, and initiating new and straightforward curative actions will take weeks, if not months, to accomplish because we're stuck with literally dozens of ignorant and ill-intentioned clowns and cowards in our national governing bodies. Of course, many of the state legislatures are even worse, but that's a topic for another time.

We're watching the slow and painful death by a thousand cuts and crazy kooks of a system of governance that survived every manner of affront and assault for centuries. And no one seems willing, able, or interested in its redemption, because they care solely about advancing, at whatever cost, their own selfish and sordid agendas and ambitions.

Having emerged from four awful years of every kind of misbehavior imaginable and 30,000-plus falsehoods by a Liar-in-Chief who should already be in jail, whatever the hopes for restoration that Biden offers remain sadly mired in the cesspool of greed, corruption, and indifference that is our Congress today. Imagine a civics teacher trying to explain to our children how the system was designed and intended to work in the tragic light of how poorly and ineffectively it operates these days. It has been fully co-opted and captured by special interests, lobbyists, lunatics, and pitiful and cowardly people whose sole interest is their own re-election. The system the Founders designed would seem like a dream of long-gone democracy, or a wild fantasy.

One faint light at the end of this awful tunnel is the possibility that the many corporations that have withheld new PAC donations (or sought refunds) from the 160-plus Republicans who voted against democracy will stay the course and cease funding these traitors and seditionists. But the rotten system runs pretty deep: For example, Microsoft's PAC gave donations to seditionist Sen. Josh Hawley, and Microsoft president Brad Smith says he didn't even know about it. Not his department, he said.

"Good enough for government work" used to be a high compliment and an expression of pride of craft, as well as something to aspire to. Today what we accept as appropriate governance is basically inept and noisy inaction and incompetence. The crass and common people we now elect to office reflect not our highest goals and ideals, but the lowest possible common denominators and the most (as opposed to the least) objectionable of candidates. Because those are the kinds of nutcases and loonies who initially prevail in our local primary systems, where only the extremists on both ends of the spectrum take the time to vote.

The best we can expect and hope for from a neutered and divided Congress, given its connivance and acquiescence, is that it does no more harm than Trump has done. It's a very low and very depressing bar.