Thursday, February 12, 2009

Conscience of the Kings?

I've seen a couple of these frantic got to pass now type bills in my life. The idea being that if the momentum is stopped and people are actually given a chance to voice an opinion on the topic, the bill will end up dead. For example, the Amnesty bill proposed in--what was it, 2007?

They call it "the thwarting the forces of evil" bill, agree to some vague terms that serve some apparent political focus, but probably are just about shunting money from whoever to a favored group, and they don't necessarily even write the bill before voting on it.

They surely don't read the bills.

In other words, there's an intense flurry of activity by our elected representatives to make absolutely sure that they're not, in fact, representing us.

I mean, let us set aside, for a moment, the political bullshit about "we must act now before it's too late!" They don't believe this (and you shouldn't either). The government screws things up when it takes its time and tries very hard to get things right. When it acts "quickly", it's always too late, and the net real effect is usually overstuffed prisons or long waits at the airport.

Look at the mess that is the PATRIOT Act. You may have even been against it. But if you were against it because it was bad law, too late and an ineffective boondoggle, you should similarly be against the stimulus act. I think, at least, the PATRIOT act had popular support. (I'm not saying it should have, mind you.)

Anyway, I wonder what it must be like in the heads of our elected representatives as they scramble to not represent us. I mean, they can't really be fooling themselves. The whole point of the various procedural tricks--like, say, voting on cloture, then writing the bill--is to circumvent democracy, debate, and (everybody's favorite whipping boy) logic. How noisy and occluded and chaotic it must be between the ears of most of these guys.

Whatever the fallout is from this sort of thing, it's good to remember that if you maintain your own ethics, you are in a far better place than any of these guys will ever be.

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