A Democratic lawmaker has a message for Americans voicing concerns over rising unemployment, record federal deficits, the health care debate and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq: Stop complaining so much.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri is seeking to pass a resolution that would officially make the day before Thanksgiving "Complaint Free Wednesday."
"From time to time, we all experience anxiety, frustration, stress, and regret. And often, we respond to these feelings with a criticism or complaining," Cleaver wrote to his colleagues, seeking co-sponsors. "Regrettably, complaining keeps people stuck on current problems, inhibiting them from thinking constructively to find solutions. Research has also shown that complaining can be harmful to one's emotional and physical health, relationships and can limit professional career success."
The resolution, which was introduced in June, has only attracted two co-sponsors, but it drew national attention this week when conservative bloggers began criticizing it.
Conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart described it as "silly" on his blog, BigGovernment.com.
"We will set aside the question of whether Rep. Cleaver has discovered the risk of too much complaining only because his party's legislative proposals are tanking in the polls," the blog post says, before suggesting that Congress wasting time on "such silliness" still may be preferable to passing legislation increasing regulations on much of the economy.
But a spokesman for Cleaver said the critics misunderstand the intent of the resolution, which was conceived by a local nonprofit that aims to reduce complaining in the world by 1 percent.
"I feel like it's being seen as something that it's not," Cleaver spokesman Danny Rotert told FoxNews.com, explaining that it is not an "attack on people's First Amendment rights to complain to the government" but rather a way to improve human relations.
"This whole idea of people need to have better relations is something he's championed a long time," Rotert said of Cleaver, a three-term congressman and an ordained minister. He called it "a simple little bill."
"Congress does this stuff all time," Rotert said.
In fact, Congress has approved a number of unusual resolutions, including National Ice Cream Day, -- approved during the Reagan era. Just this year, Congress passed resolutions for National Auctioneers' Day and National Pi Day, in honor of the mathematical constant. Another unusual resolution that has passed: National MRSA Day (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).
Resolutions awaiting congressional approval include "Free Comic Book Day" and "National Cowboy Day."
But the House has no intention of passing the "Complaint Free Wednesday" next week in time for Thanksgiving holiday.
"I think the House is doing what the House is supposed to be doing -- it has some pretty big fish to fry," Rotert said. "This is not one of the larger issues facing America right now. It's a sweet gesture meant in the spirit of the holidays and it's a gesture made on behalf of a local organization that (Cleaver) represents in Kansas City."
And even though Cleaver will continue to push for passage of the resolution, he will welcome complaints on Wednesday, Rotert said.
Cleaver isn't the first lawmaker to introduce a "Complaint Free Wednesday." That distinction belongs to Rep. Samuel Graves, a Missouri Republican who introduced the same resolution last year. Now, Graves is one of the co-sponsors for the Cleaver resolution.
"It's simply a resolution. Everyone would like to have less complaining in their lives," said Jason Klindt, a spokesman for Graves. "It's a gesture to recognize a good idea. It's not unlike resolutions that honor champions or national watermelon month."
Klindt said the resolution does not aim to silence criticism on President Obama's policies.
"It's hard not to complain given this Congress and Nancy Pelosi's agenda of raising taxes and hurting small businesses," he said.