by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
As if Democrats still needed to prove that they are obsessed with lowering or eliminating all standards, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) just scrapped the Senate dress code. There is no good reason to kill the dress code, and he should reinstate it.
Until last weekend, men were required to wear a jacket and tie on the Senate floor. The Senate likes to think of itself as the “world’s greatest deliberative body,” with just 100 men and women working there for the 335 million people who inhabit the greatest nation on Earth. They handle tremendous democratic responsibilities. Surely it is not too much to ask that they reflect the gravity of the office granted to them by dressing with dignity. Respect, indeed a degree of reverence, is due for the site and the institution. Too many of our fellow countrymen dress as children — in shorts and T-shirts — and it is reasonable to ask that senators not be among them.
But this is the Age of Schumer. It was he who stood on the steps of the Supreme Court, threatening justices with a “whirlwind” if they restricted abortion, saying, “You won’t know what hit you.” It’s the same Schumer who defended fellow Democrats who despicably and dishonestly portrayed Justice Samuel Alito (when he was a nominee) as a racist. He is the same Schumer who endorsed mobs using the “heckler’s veto” to shut down proceedings in the Tennessee legislature. Decorum means nothing to this senator.
A dress code is perhaps a lesser matter than those breached in the odious examples above of Schumer’s modus operandi. But if it is less deeply unpleasant, it is more broadly significant. Physical appearance can alter attitudes and behaviors in workplaces, in cancer treatment, even in sports. A breakdown in physical standards often leads to a breakdown in ethical standards.