Monday, July 27, 2009

The Fools On The Hill

Well on the way,
Head in a cloud,
The man of a thousand voices talking perfectly loud
But nobody ever hears him,
or the sound he appears to make,
and he never seems to notice,

But the fool on the hill,
Sees the sun going down,
And the eyes in his head,
See the world spinning 'round.

While fully understanding the president's need for speed on all things legislative - or change, if preferred - I have been wondering since the passage of the "stimulus" bill how he persuaded congressional members to help accelerate the bus without having read the damn thing. It turns out that no coercion was necessary. All it took was for the authors to deliberately make it so dauntingly expansive and voluminous that members wouldn't want to read it.

I certainly have neither the time nor the patience to read a thousand pages of legalese, to say nothing of the acumen required to comprehend such a document. It is precisely for that reason that I elect a representative - more often than not a lawyer - to go work on Capitol Hill at a damned good salary and read them for me. Furthermore, I also expect that representative to make a good decision before voting on it and - especially if the consequences of the bill's passage would be detrimental to me - vote against its passage.

John Conyers (D-Mich.) has effectively betrayed the secret of congress, much as a magician revealing the craft's tricks would draw the ire of all magicians. Conyers, who is also the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said the following at a National Press Club luncheon:
“I love these members, they get up and say, ‘Read the bill'. What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?”
Personally, I don't care how the other members of congress feel about such a betrayal of a congressional secret. I am, however, stunned and outraged that the chairman of a committee has basically admitted that we have a bunch of people voting on things they have no understanding of and are unwilling to earn their keep by learning.

On top of these fools on the Hill acquiescing to the whims of their leadership in lieu of the demands of their constituents - you know, the people who they allegedly represent - we now know that they are voting on what they're told and not what they themselves have read and understood. Worse still is that the shame of admitting such a thing has apparently gone the way of most of our social mores.

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