🇺🇸 Dress Code Drama

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Dress Code Drama

Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer relaxed the chamber's informal dress code, allowing lawmakers to wear whatever they want on the floor of what is sometimes called the "greatest deliberative body in the world."

Reporting from the Left: The end of the dress code? What it means that the Senate is relaxing clothing rules (USA Today)

Reporting from the Right: Come as You Are: Schumer Gives Thumbs-Up to End of Senate Dress Code (Breitbart)

From The Flag: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer directed the Senate's sergeant-at-arms to stop enforcing its unwritten dress code — only for its 100 members — starting this week. The decision has sparked significant debate and opinions from both sides. Here’s what they’re saying:


The Senate is Flawed With or Without a Dress Code

  • The Senate is a deeply flawed institution. Forcing people to wear suits or dress more “appropriately” isn’t going to help.

  • Trust in the Senate has waned, and one would think they’d want to strengthen the perception of respect and decorum instead of loosening it.

  • “Some senators worry that more casual dress might breed disrespect for Congress. Others argue that the harshest critics have already debased the institution, even in business attire.”

Dress Code or Not, the Senate Is a Bunch of Empty Suits, Sarah Jones New York Magazine: “Suits can’t save the Senate from itself. The Senate is indeed the setting for ‘America’s most consequential debates on war and peace, freedom and slavery,’ as the Post said. The Senate is also an innately undemocratic institution, making it irredeemable. Recently, its flaws float close to the surface. It is where our pandemic-era experiment in social democracy went to die. It’s where a barely cognizant Dianne Feinstein gets wheeled in for her votes and where Mitch McConnell struggles to stay on task. The same Republicans who are just so shocked at Fetterman’s outfits are largely in thrall to Donald Trump, who certainly has no respect for the Senate as a deliberative body or for democracy in general. The real spectacle isn’t Fetterman in his shorts, but the Senate itself. A dog in a suit is still a dog. Let Joe Manchin bark.”

A casual new dress code doesn’t suit the U.S. Senate Editorial Board, The Washington Post: “Dressing formally conveys respect for the sanctity of the institution and for the real-world impact of the policies it advances. Putting on a suit creates an occasion for lawmakers to reflect, just for a moment, on the special responsibilities with which the people have entrusted them and on a deliberative process that at least aspires to solemnity. Judges are perfectly ‘able to choose’ what they wear while on the bench, but the court wouldn’t be court unless they put on black robes. … One would have thought that, with public trust in government waning, the Senate might want to avoid looking even a tiny bit more like a high school cafeteria. Of course, dress codes evolve. In the business world, men’s suits might be in decline; the recent pandemic-related revolution in hybrid work has certainly made informality both trendy and permissible in many offices.”

One more opinion piece from the Left: Lawmakers Give New Senate Dress Code a Dressing Down Annie Karni, The New York Times


This Is Disrespectful

  • Senator John Fetterman has “beclowned himself and his institution — not that he cares.”

  • This change was largely taken to accommodate Fetterman, which could lead to a more sloppy attire that doesn’t reflect the Senate.

  • “Republicans are blasting the Senate’s newly-relaxed dress code as ‘disgraceful’ and another effort by Democrats to ‘transform America’ and to move the country in a ‘much less respectful’ direction.”

John Fetterman Makes the U.S. Senate Safe for Disgraceful Slobs Rich Lowry, National Review: “John Fetterman’s Senate legacy is now set — he’s the guy who made it possible to dress like a slob. … The Pennsylvania senator is the poster boy — if self-indulgent sloppiness is your thing — for the Senate dropping a dress code that required senators to dress in business attire when appearing on the Senate floor. … The Senate giving way to this ethos after a couple of centuries of a higher standard is a sign of the times. We no longer reliably produce people willing to conform themselves to the norms and expectations of their institutions; personal brands are considered more important. And the leaders of institutions tend to lack the courage to insist on rules that may no longer be fashionable, even if they still serve an important function. It’s not that John Fetterman is going to be a better or worse senator depending on how he dresses…his dress speaks to how he regards his position.”

Schumer changes Senate dress code, the "Fetterman rule" Jazz Shaw, Hot Air: “I suppose we should have seen this coming, right? John Fetterman continues to attract all of the wrong sort of attention and now he’s found himself at the center of a brief debate inside of the Senate leadership. He has his bad days, of course, when his cognitive issues make it nearly impossible to understand what he’s saying. But he also has a tendency to show up dressed in a hoodie and shorts while everyone else is wearing business attire. The Senate actually has an informal dress code providing guidelines for professional attire. Or at least they used to. Now Chuck Schumer has ‘quietly’ changed the dress code to say that people can wear ‘whatever they like’ on the floor of the Senate. So will Fetterman remain a lone wolf in this regard? Or are we going to see people showing up to vote wearing slacks with the butt cheeks cut out now?”

One more opinion piece from the Right: Republicans Blast Relaxed Senate Dress Code as ‘Pathetic’ and ‘Disgraceful’ David Zimmermann, National Review


Majority of Americans Dressing Casually

Outside of the Senate, a recent poll from Gallup found that 72% of American employees’ typical work attire is business casual, dressed-down, or street clothes.

Women are particularly likely to wear more casual work attire, according to the survey. Only 17% of women said they wore a uniform or professional clothing to the office.

Men, on the other hand, were equally likely to wear business casual, street clothes or a uniform, according to the poll. Only 3 percent said they wore a suit daily (The Hill).

How do you feel about the relaxed Senate dress code?

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Emancipation Proclamation, Happy Foods, Innate Pointers

An 1863 engraving try Thomas Nast, “Emancipation: The Past and the Future”

On This Day in 1862: President Abraham Lincoln issues a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which sets a date for the freedom of more than 3 million enslaved in the United States and recasts the Civil War as a fight against slavery.

Today I learned that elephants are the only wild animal that understand pointing without human training.

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