Is Congress Too Full of Lawyers?

Congressional approval is at an all-time low, somewhere around 9%.  The overall feelings expressed by most Americans is that they don’t accomplish anything worthwhile and are so rich and elite that they no longer have any connection to the common working man.

In a recent poll, people indicated that they liked cockroaches, root canals and colonoscopies more than they liked their congressmen and women.  There are all kinds of reason for the low approval ratings, but perhaps one man may have stumbled on to one of the key reasons Congress seems so disenfranchised with the American people.

Chris Wilson believes it’s because there are too many lawyers and not enough farmers, cowboys and military people serving in Congress.  To prove his point, he turned to the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress which contains a short biography on every person that has served in the US legislature from 1789 until present.  He then downloaded the over 12000 bios into a searchable database and started doing word comparisons such as ‘lawyer’, ‘farmer’, ‘cowboy’, ‘Army’ and so on.  The results are displayed in a bar graph that is itself searchable.

For example, type in ‘lawyer’ and look at the chart and you’ll see what Wilson means.  Put your cursor on any of the green bars for more information about the lawyers in that particular Congress.  Notice how the number of lawyers in Congress is steadily increasing in recent years.

Now type in ‘farmer’ and see what happens. Better yet, type in ‘Army’ and look at the results?  The number of people serving in Congress that were in the Army spiked after the American Civil War, World Wars 1 & 2, Korea and Vietnam.  However, the number has been steadily declining since around 1975.  Military men are well trained, disciplined and make excellent leaders.  They also tend to have a better understanding of national security, the US Constitution and the Second Amendment.

I spend half an hour typing in one word after another and saw some interesting things.  Of all of the words I typed in, I saw that the number of lawyers is increasing to what I believe to be a dangerous level.  Have you ever read a legal document with all of the language that no one but they can understand?  If they do the same thing in Washington, DC, no wonder nothing gets done and when it does, no one’s sure exactly what it meant and it ends up getting challenged in court.

I think it’s time to start electing more common people like farmers, ranchers, cowboys, store clerks, nurses and especially more former military people.  Now that I think about it, I propose a new bill for Congress to consider that restricts the number of lawyers that can serve in Congress and that number must be less than 1% of the total 535.  Once that quota is filled, no other attorney will be allowed to run until a slot opens.

Did you know that in early colonial days, being an attorney was consider to be a profession of ill repute and some communities would not allow them to live within the city limits.  Perhaps we need to take a lesson from those colonial days.