The Seersucker Solution
When it comes to politics,America has become one big dysfunctional family. Democrats hate Republicans, Republicans hate
Democrats, and now, Republicans even hate Republicans.
The so-called "Tea Party Republicans" are now violating President Ronald Reagan's "Eleventh Commandment": Thou shalt not criticize a fellow Republican.
The Tea Party crowd is determined to cleanse the Grand Old Party of liberal Republicans, even though liberal Republicans went the way of the dinosaur years ago. In fact, "liberal Republican" is now an
oxymoron like "jumbo shrimp" or "student athlete."
A generation ago, Republican President Ronald Regan and Democrat House Speaker Tip O'Neill were best of friends. The fought each other politically, but then got together like a couple of old Irishmen for drinks and jokes, and figured out a way to work together.
But these days in Washington, Democrats and Republicans get along like the Hatfields and the McCoys.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have a personality conflict. They hate each other.
A number of Republican Congressmen are trying to impeach President Obama even though he hasn't had an affair with an intern.
The federal government is scheduled to run out of money again in October, even though it actually ran out of money about fifty years ago, but keeps printing it. But apparently, on some date this October,
the federal government will declare that it is actually out of money so that the Treasury Secretary can go to the Bank of China and get another loan, which will hopefully come with a new toaster.
There is a very real threat that come October, the President and Congress will not be able to agree on how to raise the federal debt ceiling and get another loan from the Bank of China, and the federal government might actually shut down like it did for a few days back
in the 1990s.
Polls show that the American people want the President and Congress, Democrats and the Republicans and the Tea Partiers to all quit bickering and sit down and try to work together for the good of the country. But in Washington these days, the word "compromise" has become synonymous with "treason."
But fear not, my fellow Americans. I have a solution. I call it the "Seersucker Solution." We need to bring back Seersucker Thursday to the United States Senate.
Seersucker is the greatest fashion invention of all time. In 1907, Joseph Haspel, a New Orleans clothier, designed a light-weight suit in blue and white striped cotton fabric. Haspel named the fabric
"seersucker" from Persian words meaning "milk and sugar."
Haspel began selling his seersucker suits to New Orleans "bidnessmen," and in the 1920s, seersucker suits went national as Brooks Brothers started selling its own line of the summer suits throughout the country.
In the years before air conditioning, the seersucker suit was the only practical wear for politicians in Washington, as seersucker became a fashion staple for southern Senators.
In the 1962 film "To Kill a Mockingbird," Atticus Finch, played by Gregory Peck, wore a three-piece seersucker suit in a hot Alabama courtroom and inspired thousands of lawyers - myself included - to don seersucker even in air-conditioned courthouses.
And then, in 1996, seersucker suits literally brought Republicans and Democrats together in the United States Senate.
Mississippi Senator Trent Lott decided the time had come to revive the Senate's sartorial tradition. As the Senate Majority Leader, he announced that the third Thursday in June of each year would be "Seersucker Thursday." He urged his colleagues to prove that "the
Senate isn't just a bunch of dowdy folks wearing dark suits and a red or blue tie."
He was joined in this bipartisan fashion call by Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein of California. Feinstein urged her fellow female members of the Senate to join the bipartisan fashion statement. "I watch the men preening in the Senate," she
said, "and I figure we should give them a little bit of a horse race."
Senator Feinstein gave eleven of her female Senate colleagues seersucker dress suits.
And then, in the spirit of bipartisan camaraderie, Democrat and Republican Senators gathered together on the floor of the United States Senate, wearing the genteel summer-weight puckered cotton. It was a marvelous sight.
Just one year before the advent of Seersucker Thursday, the federal government had shut down after a big fight between President Clinton, House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Democrat and Republican members of the Senate and House.
But a year later, as Republican and Democratic members of the Senate posed side-by-side on Seersucker Thursday, the federal government began to function again. In a few years, the federal budget had miraculously been balanced, and we were paying off the national debt.
Coincidence? I think not. It was a bipartisan seersucker solution to America's problems.
Seersucker Thursday continued for several years. And then, sadly, the seersucker bond was broken. The Washington Post reported it was cancelled because "Senator Lott's former colleagues thought it would be politically unwise to be seen doing something frivolous when there's so much conflict over major issues."
And so now, members of the Senate have quit doing something "frivolous," like standing side-by-side in light cotton suits and powdered white bucks, smiling and laughing, and treating each other with respect.
They are back to dark suits, and serious, hateful expressions. And consequently, the whole country is going to hell in a worsted wool hand basket.
And so, my fellow Americans, I say it is time to bring back Seersucker Thursday. And while we're at it, let's declare today,
the last Friday in August, the annual National Seersucker Day. It is the last working day before Labor Day, the date each year when the fashion police make us put our seersucker suits back in the cedar closet until next Memorial Day.
We Americans need to come together one day each year for a sartorial seersucker celebration.
Milk and sugar indeed! It is the seersucker solution to what ails America.