Beltway Vermin

Kent Comfort
5 min readNov 29, 2023

It was overplayed in the corporate media universe that Donald Trump, currently dealing poorly with 92 indictments, invoked the term “vermin” as a descriptor of people who are not on his side. I realized he is marginally right about the existence of vermin. He is very wrong about what segment of the population may be deserving of that comparison.

When we struggle to understand situations and conditions that do not seem to stand up to logical thinking, it is often helpful to turn to nature for answers. Nature is always logical, and successful in its processes and intentions. It is how and why our species is here. When we fail to recognize the logic that upholds naturalism, it is an indication that we simply have more to learn.

I frequently read and hear in conversation a lot of befuddlement about what is happening inside the DC beltway, specifically in the congressional chambers. Logic does not seem to prevail in a normal context. Explanations for what has predominated congressional activity are not obvious or linear.

Nature encompasses all things. There are aspects of nature we still do not fully comprehend. For example, there are plants that we define as weeds. The implication regarding a weed is not favorable. It is a plant that we do not find useful or beneficial. It can be invasive, or appear to be unattractive, because of the location it emerges from. We kill weeds, extricate weeds, uproot weeds, but we do not love and appreciate them. Technically, every growing plant could be classified as a weed, until we found and recognized value in its existence.

Animate life of various forms also exists in countless varieties. Some of that life is classified as vermin. To be labeled as vermin is not a good thing. Most vermin have predators to contend with. To a predator, vermin is just food in the natural order. To humans vermin is another word for pest and parasites of many types.

What does my brief nature lesson have to do with the DC beltway? The connection I make is that far too many of the individuals there, and specifically in the Senate and House, are acting like human vermin. They fit the definition of pests and parasites as much as humanly possible. The unfortunate circumstance we are contending with in the present time is there do not seem to be any natural predators available to eradicate them. American voters have not been effective at exterminating these vermin. The individuals who are not acting like vermin are currently coexisting with them and pose no apparent threat. It is the nature of vermin to find ways to exploit weakness and openings that should not be available. Most vermin seem to be sources of harm and discomfort, with no discernable value or benefit beyond being food for a predator.

Is there a solution to the infestation of beltway vermin? I don’t see one. An important distinction for me is that I do not blame vermin for being what they are. They are part of nature. Getting angry at a cockroach for being a cockroach is not a sign of intelligence. In other words, the presence of vermin should not be blamed on the vermin. That blame should rest squarely on the backs and shoulders of those who we rely on to know better than to allow vermin to be present, and more importantly to allow vermin to take control of the environment they are occupying. I cannot excuse that circumstance.

How and why does the complicity exist that made it possible for beltway vermin to take control of the people’s house? Would we be comfortable with allowing cockroaches to infest where we live and also accommodate their invasiveness? I do not know anyone who would do that. Yet we seem able to find a space in our consciousness that is willing to tolerate the infestation of our sovereign government apparatus with these vermin without taking any effective action. I am struggling to understand that reality. I concede that nature has a reason, but I do not see what it is.

Since I will presume we agree on the point there is no logic in being angry with a cockroach because it is such, is there anyone we should be upset and disappointed with? I submit that there definitely is. The following list of current, past, and future past congressional office holders are not acting like vermin. But they are living in the midst of those who are and are essentially treating them like colleagues who simply have different opinions about the process of governing. I will make a short list who the ones that I am most disappointed with here.

Current office holders –

President of the Senate Chuck Schumer, Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren, The “Squad”, Senator Mike Phillips, Rep. Adam Smith, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Eric Swalwell

And the “quitters” –

Senator Mitt Romney, Rep. Adam Kinsinger, Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Dan Kildee, Rep. Earl Blumenauer

As I mentioned, this is a short list. There is a record number of congressional incumbents who have announced they are leaving their seats in 2024. What the office holders and quitters have in common is they all claim to be champions of the people and consider the current legislative environment be toxic and nonfunctional. They are avoiding and walking way from being agents of change when they are needed most. That would demand of them to be disrupters. They would have to sacrifice their future potential for lucrative lobbying jobs and corporate board seats if they were effective as disrupters. The current office holders would put at risk their relationships with large donors. All these people are hiding behind a veil of cowardice to protect their personal interests. The vermin have infested the hallowed halls of congress because these people, and many more like them have failed to do what the people who elected them need them to do.

If there is ever to be integrity restored in our legislative branches, very painful and difficult choices must made, and actions taken. There is no other solution. Someone must sacrifice, die on a hill, fall on a sword. Will that person or persons step up? The future of democracy is depending on it.

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Kent Comfort

Kent Comfort is a writer, entrepreneur and podcaster. He enjoys life in the southwest with his wife and their cocker spaniel.