One nation ... under sloths ... with ... lethargy ... and justice ... for all.
Sloths most certainly don't run the world -- or really run at all, for that matter. But here are eight reasons why they could.
1. They clean up pretty well. Case in point:
2. They'd be more popular than our current representatives.
A poll taken earlier this year found that Congress was less popular than cockroaches, traffic jams and the rock band Nickelback, when compared side by side. While there hasn't been any polling to back up the popularity of sloths to our knowledge, it's probably safe to say they're better liked than the world's most notorious annoyances.
3. C-SPAN would be far more exciting. Heyooo! Watch and compare:
(Video produced by Nick Abrams)
4. Politicians and sloths have similar work schedules, but we could probably expect sloths to get more done.
The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to be in session for a grand total of 126 days in 2013. As a reminder, there are 365 days in a year. That means, with 239 days off, they're only expected to be at work for about 35 percent of the year. Sloths are inarguably lethargic creatures, but while earlier observations suggested they might sleep up to 16 hours a day, a more recent study found that 10 hours was more accurate. Taking the lower figure, we can calculate that sloths are hard at work crawling around, foraging and doing other sloth things, for about 58 percent of each day, 365 days out of the year.
Which brings us to the issue of productivity. While sloths may not strike many as up to the task of legislating, it appears that the people we elect to do that for us really aren't either. The previous 112th Congress was the least productive ever. The Washington Times provides the details of its final scorecard:
But in 2011 and 2012, Congress produced just 10 conference reports, the Senate met for little more than 2,000 hours and the House for 1,700, and the two chambers combined to enact fewer than 230 laws.
5. They'd force filibuster reform.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) drew complimentary chatter earlier this year when he embarked upon a 13-hour standing filibuster, ultimately going more than half of a day without a bathroom break. Move over, Paul, sloths typically only come down from their leafy perches once a week to go to the bathroom.
While there is currently debate over reforming a process that requires legislation to have 60 votes simply to avoid the threat of a filibuster, sloth Congress would have to make changes to the historic procedure or risk entering a state of perpetual "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."
6. Their knowledge of conservation is first-rate.
While most sloth populations are in good shape, two of the six species, the maned three-toed sloth and the pygmy three-toed sloth are endangered, with the latter classified as "critically endangered." Deforestation and human poaching are thought to be two sources of this decline, so we assume that sloth legislators would therefore understand the dangers posed by the unfettered expansion of their human subjects.
Sloths also understand conservation at a more visceral level. The coarse fur of the unkempt tree-dwellers has been identified as a home to organisms, including moths, beetles, cockroaches, ciliates, fungi and algae.
7. If you insist on having bitter partisanship in your politics, sloths could provide.
Mindy Lighthipe of the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica tells The Huffington Post that they have to keep the quicker, more aggressive two-toed sloths separate from the slower, more docile three-toed counterparts. Two-toed sloths are cute, but they don't take guff from anyone.
8. Evidence suggests that even the youngest of sloths understand compassion, a trait that escapes many human politicians. Our proof: