“What will the Senate look like in the coming years?” The question often asked by the American public has just become more complex. No, I am not talking about which party will be in the majority, and I am not pondering the focus of future federal policy. The question at hand has become more fashionable than ever.
After New York Senator Chuck Schumer announced the change in dress code enforcement for Senators on the floor, the term “empty suits” seemed to be at risk. The change of style was triggered by Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman’s preferred casual attire – often a Carhartt hoodie and early 2000s NBA-length shorts. This decision has proved quarrelsome amongst politicos and politicians alike, but to those worried or frustrated, I say this: there is hope.
The press has a chance to regain the trust and viewership of the American public, and it involves taking cues from the NBA. I propose they film senators approaching the floor like professional players’ pre-game walks to the locker room. Picture Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley sporting Ray Bans, Beats headphones, ripped jeans, and a Supreme t-shirt.
Senators, if you lay these outfits out the night before you have to be on the floor, it’s safe to say you’ll steal the show.
- Senators trying to balance casual and formal should consider a tuxedo t-shirt. As Talladega Nights character Cal Naughton Jr. once noted, “it says I want to be formal, but I’m here to party.”
- Coming to the floor from a darty? No need to change. Now you can rock a Michael Jordan Space Jam jersey with Nike Mid-Blazers as you dish out fresh legislaish.
- Sitting in an aisle seat with the opposing party on the other side? An “I’m with stupid” t-shirt with an arrow pointing in their direction is your answer.
- I think it would be criminal for Senator Bernie Sanders not to wear a Grateful Dead t-shirt and Birkenstocks.
- Want to appeal to young voters and rake in RNC funding?Take a page out of the UVa College Republicans’ book with a Gamma Omega Pi frocketed t-shirt.
- All on the finance committee can tap into their inner finance bro with a plaid shirt, Patagonia vest, and On Clouds.
- A senator with an “I Paused My Game to Be Here” shirt wins my vote more times than not.
- Does your state have a vicious college rivalry, and you need to avoid taking a side? A John Belushi “College” t-shirt lets us college kids know you’re on our side.
I understand both sides here. Republicans want to maintain dignity and tradition on the floor. Larry David’s famed show, Curb Your Enthusiasm, had a good note about this (although the scene was about a lawyer wearing a Canadian Tux for casual Friday). The point applied to the Senate is that there are serious matters on the table, so the American public would feel more trusting in their Senator if they were dressed accordingly. It’s for that very reason that I wear my Sunday best to church and a collared shirt to my Omi and Granddaddy’s house for a family dinner.
The Democrats’ opinion on the matter makes sense in its own right. They want to reflect the American public in a more literal sense. They think that a casual look shows they are one of us. It’s essentially a politician rolling up their sleeves in a rural area they hope to represent, but on a more permanent basis.
Back to the church analogy: if I see someone in a t-shirt at church, I don’t scoff at their decision, nor do I think twice about their moral convictions. God is no Joan Rivers and does not judge the threads worn by churchgoers as a reflection of their devotion. Do I want my senator to wear a suit and tie? Sure, but if they feel they can accomplish their job best in a tank-top and flops, then so be it.
The opinions expressed within this piece represent the views of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Jefferson Independent.