Viewpoint: Washington leaders acting like children, need kindergarten class

By Paula Ann Solis

It’s hard for some people to imagine that Miley Cyrus is being outdone in the shame game, but with government officials throwing around callous insults instead of good ideas, Cyrus is starting to look like a saint.

As of late, our government has demonstrated some serious deficiency in the education department, and by that I don’t mean the Department of Education.

No, my concern is that government officials have forgotten some very essential manners they were supposed to have learned in kindergarten. This has led to the current government shutdown.

Now, I’m not all that politically savvy, but no worries, my 8-year-old nephew has helped me develop a plan to get things rolling again.

The day my nephew came home from his first day of kindergarten three years ago, he taught me a new term. Bucket dipper.

Essentially, a bucket dipper is one who dips into the bucket of another person and leaves them feeling empty.

The bucket is a metaphor for your mental and emotional self. How does one dip into another’s bucket?

My nephew said a classmate dipped in his bucket when he took his favorite SpongeBob SquarePants pencil without asking. Ouch.

I suppose in Washington, D.C., that would be the equivalent of a phone call like the one between President Barack Obama and Speaker John Boehner reported by the Chicago Tribune in which Obama called just to remind Boehner there wont be any negotiating on government funding or debt limits.

If that call was actually as unproductive as it seems, it sounds to me like Obama called just to say “na-na-na-na boo-boo,” and Boehner was on the other side sticking his tongue out in defense.

That’s bucket dipping. The remedy? Bucket filling.

One fills another’s bucket by letting them know you care about their feelings and showing respect for others’ ideas and property.

Going back to the meanie who took my nephew’s pencil, he made up for his egregious ways by not only returning the pencil but also offering him some of his Goldfish Crackers at lunch.

Nice call, kid.

While I don’t think there are enough Goldfish Crackers to fix what’s broken in Washington, D.C., I do think a sit-down with a kindergarten teacher over the do’s and do not’s of classroom decorum could do Congress and the whole country a lot of good.

For members of Congress who just can’t tear themselves away from their hard work getting nothing done at the Capitol to meet with a kindergarten teacher, they can check out

It has a lot of great advice that I really think could get us out of this government shutdown mess.

One last thing that students of bucket filling need to remember is to “use your lid,” which basically means close your bucket when you’re near a bucket dipper and open it back up when you’re near a bucket filler.

So what do you say, Congress? Start letting the good in and pushing the bad out. Do it for your country.

Paula Ann Solis is a senior journalism major from Houston. She is a staff writer for The Lariat.