17 Tips for New Members of Congress

Ellen Savarese, Coverage Editor

New members of 114th United States Congress were sworn in on January 3rd, after winning hard-fought, impassioned battles in each of their respective states. Congress is a scary place, similar to the cafeteria on the first day of middle school, and there are many long-standing rules, formalities, and unspoken precedents, hardened by the test of time, that the kiddos must learn to respect.

Let’s forget those.

Here are 17 less-conventional tips for new members of Congress that I, along with fellow ArapahoeXtra columnist, Mike Carlson, have compiled after witnessing the escapades of our last Congress.

  1. Photos in which you are shirtless are a definite no.
  2. Photos in which you are missing any item of clothing, for that matter, are a no.
  3. Shirtless photos on a horse/bear/dinosaur are still a no, but you get extra points because that’s just plain gutsy.
  4. Wearing an American flag pin on your lapel is not optional.
  5. Women, don’t fret, you’ll have a lapel to put a pin on, as you’ll inevitably be wearing a lot of pantsuits. Don’t fight it, it’ll happen.
  6. It’s probably a bad idea to shut down the government during prime 8th-grade-DC-trip-season. March through May, you need to learn to compromise like you’ve never compromised before. Think of the children.
  7. Know when the cameras are rolling. Actually, let’s be safe and assume they are always rolling.
  8. When attending public events, stick to the motto “What would Joe Biden not do?”
  9. Regardless of your political party, your team is America now, and you put her above everything (including disagreements with your colleagues across the aisle). No exceptions.
  10. Don’t do anything that would give you your own “Saturday Night Live” skit.
  11. Whatever you do, don’t stare at John Boehner’s tan. He is, quite literally, the big orange elephant in the room.
  12. You can never spend too much money on a PR firm.
  13. There is no such thing as “Casual Friday”, even if Mark Sanford tells you otherwise.
  14. If the President invites you to play hoops against him, do not posterize, crossover, or swat him. Let him win at all costs and then lie like Nixon that you didn’t.
  15. You might be asked to go on “Dancing With the Stars”. Do not go on “Dancing With the Stars”.
  16. If you don’t think you can pronounce a word, you probably can’t.
  17. You’ve got a couple of high school seniors in Colorado who still believe in you. It may not sound like much, but it’s better than nothing. Don’t mess this up.