When I was a youth, back in the olden days, I got to serve as a page in the Oklahoma state legislature. It filled me with awe, getting to be on the floor of where laws were made, carrying messages for congressmen when they signaled to the row of us sitting in front and bringing them coffee. It was a great civic experience.
But now the House of Representatives of the United States of America has canceled its 200-year program, in which some 70 young people come to Washington to serve and to learn as congressional pages. Congressional leaders who made the decision cite the cost. $5 million. But since when does Congress care about that kind of chump change?
I suspect the real reason is the difficulty of safeguarding the pages against the sexual predators in Congress. Think Reps. Gerry Studds (D-Mass.), Dan Crane (R-Ill.), and Mark Foley (R-Florida), all of whom were caught in sex scandals with pages. Better to protect Congressmen than to protect the pages.
How far I have fallen from the respect for lawmakers that I had when I was a page!