There are currently 775 members of the House of Lords, a fact that I and most other Americans were surprised to find out, because our knowledge of the chamber is based solely on movie and TV depictions of it. Typically it looks like only fifty or sixty old guys in nice robes and wigs. We Americans figure it includes people like Sir Elton John, knighted for his collection of heart-shaped sunglasses and colorful hats, Sir Richard Branson, knighted for being one of the tiny minority of men who dye their hair and grow a beard despite not being wanted by the police, and Sir David Attenborough, knighted for narrating critter porn.
The British powers-that-be figure that only about 450 elected politicians could easily do the work of the 700-plus members of Britain's present Upper House, which as noted above, currently consists of nothing. This is the type of forward thinking that our politicians should emulate, we Americans nod, until we find out that the new political creatures under the weak British sun will be called Senators.
Don't the Brits ever look across the ocean? 450 Senators? Really? We only have a hundred, and they are trouble enough.
Just in this past week Rand Paul, Tennessee's Senator, proposed letting Florida flood until it is indistinguishable from the rest of the Atlantic Ocean unless the other Senators agree with him and grant the status of "personhood" to unborn fetuses from the moment a sperm hits the target egg. What "personhood" actually means to Paul is anybody's guess, but a future in which fetuses can own property, sue and form corporations (which themselves are people already, according to the Supreme Court) is possible.
Paul's friend John Cornyn is meanwhile hounding the Attorney General over a bungled sting operation aimed at preventing guns from being run over the border to Mexican drug cartels. Cornyn's position is that the Second Amendment to the US Constitution means that the Founding Fathers far-sightedly granted as then unborn Americans (or pre-fetuses) the unalienable right to smuggle semi-automatic weapons and armor-piercing ammunition to drug kingpins in the country of Mexico, even though when the amendment was written, there were no such things as semi-automatic weapons, armor-piercing ammunition, drug kingpins or the country of Mexico.
450 of these guys would be a serious mistake for the British. They would end up like us, presided over by a gigantic room full of quarrelling loonies, only 4.5 times worse. We should be taking a cue from them instead by dissolving our current Senate and replacing it with a House of Lords of our own. We couldn't call it that, of course, since we have no Lords. We would have to call it the House of Who Dat, maybe, and let the not-so-great descendants of the great have life memberships, like the British do, and appoint rappers, celebrities, TV evangelists and self-improvement gurus to join them. Naturally all of the suddenly unemployed current Senators would automatically belong. All would be required to wear their most outlandish clothes and spout contradictory speeches when in session and they could stay there until old age, disease, accident or murder got the best of them. They would have no power to do anything and nobody would have to pay attention to them unless they wanted to.
I sense a better world already.