Why don’t they listen during Congressional “hearings”?

The news programs keep showing clips from Congressional committee “hearings.” I keep watching them. And I keep wondering: when last did a Congressperson sitting on one of those committees ask a question of a witness to which the Congressperson did not know the answer? And when last did a committee, holding one of those hearings, learn something new that informed their decisions on pending legislation?

It may be that the media only show those clips they deem “entertaining” enough, rather than all the business, and that indeed there is some information exchange in these hearings. But it sure seems as if the only reason they hold these hearings is so that the Congressfolk can pontificate, can act outraged, can make speeches that can then be excerpted into television commercials in their never-ending quest to be re-elected. Today, it was Bernie Sanders yelling at the CEO of Starbucks. Yesterday, it was a Ted Cruz calling the Secretary of Homeland Security a liar.

When I sit on a board of directors, when I listen to the debate on the motions before we vote, I actually listen, to learn my fellow directors’ opinions, and sometimes to help me decide which course of action is best for the organization. I don’t go in to every meeting with my mind made up, looking only to score points. But then perhaps that’s the reason I’m not in Congress.

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