HOUSE OF CARDS – Art Imitates Life

(WARNING: May contain spoilers of House of Cards, Season 2)

My father served as the Sergeant At Arms (SAA) for the United States Senate from 1987 through 1990.  There were many firsts for him during his tenure including being the first Polynesian (person of color) to hold that position.  But before I go any further with this story I should probably describe exactly what an SAA is —

Originally called Office of Doorkeeper, the position was established in 1789 to address the single most pressing problem confronting the Senate  – its inability to keep a majority of members in the Capitol long enough to organize and begin the business of government.

Simply put: they needed a quorum.

Tune in to House of Cards Season 2 Episode 3 and you will see a slice of an actual event that occurred where my father was ordered to bring in Senators from wherever they hid.  In Sen. Packwoodʻs case, it meant nearly breaking down the door of his office.  

Here is a video clip where Packwood, in good spirits explains how he re-injured his arm during his arrest by Giugni:

Screen shot 2014-03-06 at 11.29.32 AM
(Juniroa Productions Collection, ca. 1988)

By the way, the title of Sergeant at Arms was added in 1798 to reflect the expanded administrative duties of the position.

For more on the episode’s comparison to the real 1988 incident read: http://hoh.rollcall.com/house-of-cards-or-senate-of-cards/‘s online story.

–Heather

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