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‘House of Cards’ teachings


In a Feb. 13 interview with CBS News, actor Kevin Spacey jokingly said that House Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told him “If I could just kill one member of Congress, I wouldn’t have to worry about another vote.”

This is in light of the recent premier of season two of Netflix’s “House of Cards,” which Spacey stars in and produces. If you can imagine “Breaking Bad’s” Walter White running Congress, then you get the main idea of “House of Cards.”

The show centers on Spacey’s character, the narcissistic, sadistic, power-hungry House Majority Whip Frank Underwood, and his corrupt rise to power. The series also showcases something we typically don’t see in our reality—a Congress that actually gets stuff done.

Before I continue the rest of this column, let me stress that I don’t wish our Congress were run by the likes of Underwood—(spoiler alert) I’d rather not have a murderer running our country, and I don’t think it takes corrupt officials to maintain a productive government.

But the notion of an administration—particularly a House that “cleans the pipes and keeps the sludge moving,” as Underwood describes—that keeps promises and finds a way to enact policy despite ideological extremes should not be so far fetched as it seems to be.

In planning this column, I originally set out to praise Congressional Republicans for cooperating with Democrats to avoid another government crisis. I was really looking forward to saying, “I guess they all decided to do their jobs so they wouldn’t miss the ‘House of Cards’ premier.” But that quickly changed when I realized the House planned to stall immigration reform in 2014.

According to House Speaker John Boehner, Republicans don’t “trust the president to implement the law the way we would design it.”

I don’t doubt there is merit to their worries, but it’s not enough of a reason to completely stall the bill. We all know why they’re really putting a halt to it—Republicans are scared of losing their majority in the upcoming primary elections.

As it stood, the House bill contained some drastic differences from the Senate version, including stiffer border control measures and it fell short of complete legal status for some immigrants.

Democrats in the House are now saying they are willing to wait until 2017, once President Barack Obama has finished his term, to pass immigration reform.

It’s common knowledge that change comes slow in Washington, but the House running the way it has for the past few years is taking that to a new extreme.

No wonder Obama has taken to so many executive orders.

Even though “House of Cards” is a fictional series, in its own right it reminds us of just how counterproductive our own government is.

Spacey said members of the real-life Congress agree and disagree with the premise of “House of Cards.”

“I get the spectrum,” he said in the CBS interview. “One on hand some people are like ‘it’s closer than anyone could imagine it’s really like,’ and others that say it’s a fantasy and it’s a cynical perspective.”

Obviously “House of Cards” was designed to captivate an audience with great story telling, drama, suspense and amazing cinematography, but it’s also a nice break “for the public to see a Congress that actually gets things done,” Spacey said.

Jasmine Aguilera may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Jasmine Aguilera
Jasmine Aguilera, Editor-in-chief
Jasmine is a senior multimedia journalism major with a minor in anthropology. She began practicing journalism as a high school student when she joined the Tejano Tribune, El Paso Community College’s student newspaper. During her senior year she became the first ever high school student to become editor-in-chief of the Tribune. She moved on to join The Prospector team in the fall of 2011. Jasmine has covered national politics, immigration, poverty, human trafficking, refugees and more in her time holding various editorial positions at The Prospector and as an intern reporter at the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire and Gannett News Service, both in Washington, D.C. She aspires to become an international reporter and tell stories that do not receive the attention they deserve. Until then, she spends her time following the news and guiding a very talented team in reporting for a student audience and the El Paso community. She also enjoys a good book, art, music and the occasional Netflix binge (House of Cards and Breaking Bad remain her favorite).
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‘House of Cards’ teachings