Ben Stein on the congressional undead

CBS/AP

Can an irrational fear shed light on a real-life concern? Ben Stein certainly seems to think so:


A few weeks ago, a close friend came to me and wanted advice about putting iron bars in front of his windows. I asked him why he needed bars on his windows in Beverly Hills in the first place. "So the zombies try to come into my house, I can keep them out," he said. "You just need the right kind of iron."

My friend is a bit scattered, so he never quite finished the conversation.

But here's the amazing part: When I tell other friends about this, they say things like, "What kind of iron bars did he get?" Or, "What did he do to make the zombies mad at him?"

No one except my sensible wife said, "What's he talking about? Zombies? The walking dead? There is no such thing. That's voodoo, it's not real." But my wife is in the minority (at least in my crowd).

The Internet is jammed with stories and survival guides about how to deal with zombie attacks. My son reads them avidly.

Where did this belief in zombies suddenly come from, exploding and growing upon the nation?

I think I know.

The first branch of the United States government, the most important deliberative body on the planet, the United States Congress - THEY are the inspiration for the zombie craze.

Now obviously, no one but a madman would REALLY think that iron bars could keep a Member of Congress out of a taxpayer's home. That's not what this story is about.

It's about the congressional walking dead.

They get elected. They might LOOK as if they're alive, might LOOK as if they respond to stimuli like living people, but they're actually in another realm, where crises present themselves and the zombies just stagger past them, accomplishing little or nothing. The debt crisis doesn't get resolved on time? So what? Time doesn't mean a lot to a zombie.

Again, I don't really want to talk about bars and senators in the same breath, but maybe they need a little something - a little pick-me-up, just something that would give them a ZAP so they actually get something done about the deficit or mortgages or jobs.

But I'm not sure you CAN wake them up, because they're not sleeping. They're, well, not quite in the land of the living. And they keep coming at us ... and getting closer and closer and ... I'm scared!

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