On Wednesday, our congressional representatives continued to ignore the pressing need to extend middle class tax breaks and unemployment insurance, choosing instead to spend their time on banning the word “lunatic” from federal codes.
The House of Representatives voted 398-1 to remove the term “lunatic” from all federal legislation due to its pejorative connotation and its archaic understanding of what causes mental illness.
Lunatic comes from the Latin “luna,” in reference to an archaic belief that mental illness is related to lunar cycles. The word still appears in some parts of federal law, such as in financial laws where it says banks can form committees to administer the “estates of lunatics.”
The Senate approved the same change back in May. The explanation for why it took the House six additional months to pass the bill is unknown.
The one lone soul who voted against the measure was Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), saying that it’s ludicrous to spend time on such a bill when there are so many other pressing needs before the Congress. Gohmert said:
In fact, in occurred to me, that not only should we not use the term lunatic at a time when we are facing national bankruptcy, if we don’t get serious about our issues…we should also use the term to identify those who want to continue doing business as usual around this town.
Proving that Gohmert may be a mental wayward himself, his reprimand wasn’t intended solely for his fellow House Republicans. He also chided President Barack Obama’s administration for opposing extension of Bush-era tax cuts for the top 2% of earners, insinuating that Obama also is a lunatic for asking the wealthy to pay their fair share.
Gohmert followed up his criticism of Obama by saying:
That’s why we shouldn’t eliminate the word lunatic. It really has application around this town.