Just as the Commonwealth has borrowed role reversals from the Roman Saturnalia festival, this year we need to import an extended version of the tradition to America. My proposal follows: Legislative members of both houses of Congress must find a family in the "final throes" of foreclosure within their electoral base and switch places with them for the remainder of their luxuriously long winter vacations. During this time, these families will not only have access to their elected representative's federal health benefits, but they will also be given the identical weekly personal budget that each of these Senate and Congressional members has at their regular disposal, including any housing and vacation rentals. Conversely, each Legislator and his/her family must try and figure out how they are going to survive for the next couple of weeks, while avoiding being evicted from their foreclosed housing situation and trying to find food within the other family's limited economic means.
At the end of this extended Boxing Day tradition, each Senator and Congressperson must then appear on a thirty minute moderated talk show where he or she will be interviewed by the family going through foreclosure. After his or her recent experiences of living well beneath their means, they must reconcile their voting record with how they have performed as an elected representative of the "role-reversal" family. Beyond providing an eventual, online video document available for remix during the next election cycle, there would be a unique opportunity for the member our bicameral Congress to translate his or her newfound empirical knowledge into realistic proposals for how families, like the one they replaced temporarily, would be able to stay in their homes on "main street."
And you may ask, why do I exclude the Executive branch in the new American Legislative Boxing Winter Vacation? Well, they are currently far too busy figuring out their own cute role reversal where Bush will resign today after he preemptively pardons Cheney (of course, ignoring his assurances to follow a set process with the Pardon Attorney-- Toussie anyone?), so that Cheney can then return the preemptive pardon favor. And for the biggest Boxing Day irony of all, guess who will decide not to pardon Bush? And that my friends, is sadly the closest thing to incomplete justice we can ever expect from our fine plutocracy.