After The Congressman’s lunch, we hopped one of the underground capitol subways. From there, we caught the “Members Only” elevator up to the Capitol.
The sanctity of that decree is questionable since Peter, and I had convinced the “Members Only” elevator operator to let us go up and down in it several times.
The elevator is extremely tight, and I was lucky enough to share personal space with Joe Kennedy II. He was wearing a button-down shirt, but the collar was so frayed it should have been sent to elementary school for one of his kids to use as an art smock.
Lackadaisical Kennedys. Maybe he was playing a game of touch football later.
We headed to a Committee Room for a hearing in front of the International Relations Committee.
You would never know it, but behind the dais, there is a “green room” for the committee members and the people testifying. There were old couches, TVs, magazines, food, and beverages. It looked like a teen center hang room.
I looked like the only one who belonged there. Maybe I could pick up a pamphlet about STDs or teen pregnancy?
The hearing was about to start, and The Congressman took the “Chair” chair.
It didn’t look at all like the hearings we see snippets of on the news. The place was empty.
I sat behind The Congressman in the area reserved for staffers. Close enough that if this ended up being on C-SPAN, I would get some face time. I shouldn’t have bothered.
There were three experts there on… (?) They sat in a row and had computer printed name tents in front of them. One of the names was misspelled. The expert crossed it out and wrote a corrected version in Sharpie. This wasn’t especially formal, was it?
They submitted written testimony, and I could tell by the pile that there were no guidelines for submission. It would have been frowned upon, but I think testimony submitted on Hello Kitty paper would be accepted.
Then, one by one, they read aloud what they just handed in. Redundancy at its worse. The Congressman was the only Member present and offered no questions or follow-ups. So we were treated to book reports read verbatim.
The Congressman’s wife appeared from the green room with a plate of food. Like he was a little kid who needed a snack. He tucked a napkin into his shirt and went to town on the fruit and crackers.
While being filmed.
During a congressional hearing.
Finally, we were done. Smiling and handshakes all around. Some of these experts had flown in for this. If they were going to pay for airfare, the least the committee could ask was to make a diorama to accompany their book report.