The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), Orrin G. Hatch Foundation, and Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate are, for some reason, launching a “series of debates between leading U.S. senators” called “The Senate Project,” and it sure sounds like yet another addition to the oversaturated podcast market. In my humble opinion, the only “Senate Project” we need is the abolition of the filibuster—perhaps the abolition of the Senate altogether, at this point—or at the very fucking least, some common sense gun safety legislation.
But, no. Nineteen kids and two adults are dead after yet another devastating mass shooting, and our elected leaders are basically starting a fucking podcast. It seems the only thing more uniquely American than a mass shooting is the government doing nothing after said shooting. But, hey—at least we get to listen to a bunch of rich, old white men try to “seek common ground and consensus that has been the essence of the Senate since it was conceived in 1789.”
As if “The Senate Project” couldn’t get any more brain-wormed, the debates will be moderated by Fox News’ Bret Baier and streamed on Fox Nation. The debates will also take place in varying, unnecessarily fancy venues like the Kennedy Institute’s full-size replica of the U.S. Senate Chamber, despite how these podcast episodes could surely be recorded via Twitch stream from Sen. Josh Hawley or Ted Cruz’s man-caves.
Still, I do wish “The Senate Project” luck as it enters what is, again, a very crowded market of podcasts no one fucking asked for, and doesn’t sound like it has particularly unique selling points. What, really, is the difference between this and “My Favorite Murder”—except that the hosts of “My Favorite Murder” are merely talking about murder, while the hosts of “The Senate Project” are enabling it en masse...
Of the series, BPC President Jason Grumet has said, “Our democracy rests on the ability to engage in serious issues and resolve legitimate differences. The Senate Project highlights the creativity and courage required to govern a divided nation.” to the contrary, I would actually argue that getting your ass up and working to prevent the next mass shooting is what’s required of Senators to “govern a divided nation.” Who’s even there to govern if we’re all dead!
And somehow, I doubt that cute little debates and “both-sides”-ing on whether civilians should have access to mass killing machines that didn’t exist when the Constitution was written will “resolve legitimate differences”—or achieve anything, really, except give Lindsey Graham and other Senate Republicans a platform to see who can own the libs the hardest. Well, 19 kids are dead. Consider us owned.
Speaking of Graham, the first debate will take place between him and Sen. Bernie Sanders on June 13, and, sure, you’re probably thinking, “Don’t these literal US Senators have anything better to do??” To that I say, yes and no. Yes, there are very clear actions Congress members should be taking at a time when elementary schools are getting shot up by teenage boys who easily purchased assault rifles, the Earth is on the brink of climate apocalypse, and the Supreme Court is about to make pregnant people into state-controlled ovens.
But also, no, because the Senate is pretty much designed to stop any kind of meaningful change. Its skewed representation accords vastly disproportionate decision-making power to regions with substantially smaller populations of predominantly white conservatives, over more populous and diverse regions. And with that decision-making power, these voters elect representatives who are hellbent on constantly making everything worse for the most marginalized people. The Senate is white supremacy and patriarchal violence in action.
The only way this chamber of Congress could be vaguely redeemable is the abolition of the filibuster so its narrow Democratic majority could get something, anything done, or perhaps statehood for DC, which has a larger population than Wyoming. But at this point, after watching this institution pass legislation to protect Supreme Court Justices while shrugging at the murders of 19 children, I’m leaning more on abolishing the Senate altogether. If they all want to be podcasters, cool! But they can do it on their own time and their own dime, and maybe not while they should be taking action after a mass shooting???