Government bodies, whether it be the executive or legislative branches of government, have always attracted much attention. In democratic countries, the desire of society to know about the people they have chosen to rule the country is entirely natural. In the realities of the United States, one of the bodies that are the most curious to study in the United States Congress. The purpose of this essay is a detailed review of changes in Congress in recent years and an analysis of the possible consequences of these changes.
The current 116th session of Congress began in January 2019 under the rule of Democrats, taking control of the lower house of parliament. However, political change is far from the only difference in Congress. First of all, the number of representatives of Congress having non-white skin color increased (Geiger). It must be understood that the very essence of Congress is the possibility of people from different cultures living in America to represent themselves.
Accordingly, in the current situation, when American society has long ceased to be mainly white, there is a need for representatives of different skin colors and different nationalities. Congress members should undoubtedly look like Americans, but at the moment, numerous Americans are not white; therefore, the situation in Congress reflects the current social status. However, the continuation of such a trend in the future may lead to unnecessary diversity and the loss by Congress of the idea of cultural representation as such.
If the problem of racial diversity began to arise only recently, then the question of women’s rights is one of the oldest problems. Lately, special attention has been paid to this issue, and it can be seen from the rise in the representation of women in Congress: in the previous, 115th session of the Congress, women occupied almost a quarter of all seats (Geiger). This fact cannot but rejoice, since, finally, women can actively participate in the legislative process on a par with men.
Such an opportunity allows the female half of American society to believe that their interests will not be forgotten, ensuring their safe future. However, there is a certain probability that increase in seats is simply a follow-up of a pervasive fashion. In this case, no one will benefit from such representation in the future since the competence of these women has to be proved.
Speaking of competence, it is worth noting the growing scholarship of congress members, both in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. The number of members with at least a bachelor’s degree reaches almost one hundred percent in both houses of Congress (Geiger). On the current day, it is safe to say that practically all congressmen are people with higher education, which means they must be able to think abstractly and analytically. Thus, an increase in the number of parliamentarians with a degree is undoubtedly a positive trend, providing a promising future through an academic approach to legislation.
Due to its diversity, the current Congress is an example of such a phenomenon as a descriptive representation, which means the similarity of representatives with the people they represent. On the one hand, the advantage of the descriptive representation is the image in the legislature of all cultural layers of the American population. However, on the other hand, such variety for the sake of diversity can significantly degrade the overall system performance, and it is undoubtedly a disadvantage of this principle. It is much easier for people to find a common language with their kind than when interacting with a completely different cultural group of people pursuing other interests.
Based on the analysis, we can conclude that the congressmen of the current session are representatives of the most diverse sectors of society. Accordingly, they have a clear opportunity to represent the interests of their group, to promote and defend them at the legislative level. However, the increasing diversity in Congress cannot but be disturbing, since there is still the possibility of a misunderstanding and deterioration of the work of its members.
Geiger, Abigail, et. al. “The Changing Face of Congress in 6 Charts.” Pew Research Center. 2019. Web.