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Home 2009 Aug. 2009 Derelict Politicians Aren't Reading the Bills

Derelict Politicians Aren't Reading the Bills

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(This article was originally published on Aug. 14th, 2009. I start to get the feeling that maybe the politicians do know what they're doing, and they're doing us on purpose.)

Are you paying attention? Have you been listening to what the politicians have been saying? Have you been listening and noticing the mainstream media's twist on recent happenings? I don't mean have you been simply hearing the words and seeing the images, I mean have you been truly listening and paying attention? Have you taken the time to really think about what's being said? Have you thought about what it all might mean?

I heard Representative John Conyers speak with sarcasm and derision about members of congress who ask that the bills going through congress be read before being voted upon. I will let his own words bury him. While giving a speech at the National Press Club he said, "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?" This is a brilliant observation of what is completely wrong with our system of government today. This is a wonderful illustration of just how corrupt the system is and how much disdain the political elite has for the people they deign to rule over.

Representative John Conyers, while thinking he was excusing himself from the burdensome task of reading the bills, gives us a wonderful reason as to why we should demand that he and all congressmen do exactly that before voting in the affirmative on any bill. It is, in fact, no good to read the bill if it's a thousand pages long and takes two days to read and two lawyers to translate. That's why you should vote in the negative on any bill that is that long and that hard to understand. Why would anyone want to vote in the affirmative on any bill when they don't know what's in it or what it means? The only reason I can think of is because instructions to do so come down from someone on high, someone who does not care for the best interests of the people but only care for their own best interests. Can you think of a better way to show utter disrespect for those one is supposed to represent than to foist laws upon them that have unknown consequences and misunderstood elements?

Well, Mr. Conyers, I would remind you that it is your job to read the bills. You are the one who has been elected by your constituents to consider these measures for their benefit, not your staff, not your lawyer. You have decided to be derelict in your duties. You have decided to betray the trust the people placed in you. While you decide to delegate your duties to staffers and accept their interpretation of the bills, however, it seems the people of this country have finally decided to do your job and they have started to read these bills for themselves. Perhaps that's at least partially responsible for the outrage that has been expressed at the proposed health care reform in recent town hall meetings across the nation.

More disturbing still is the attitude many politicians and some of the media have taken toward those who have been protesting the proposed new health care legislation in America. Representative John Dingell asked a man who had been yelling at him because he was concerned that his cerebral palsy son wouldn't get care under the proposed Obama health care plan, if it would be okay if the bill was amended to specifically address that problem. He gets booed by the crowd when he suggests that. Mr. Dingell doesn't get it. People have read this bill. It is a bad bill. The common man is tired of getting this kind of legislation shoved down their throats. The bill does not need to be amended, it needs to be scrapped.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi came out with a statement to the effect that these protesters are un-American. I have seen some media personalities echoing this sentiment. This congresswoman, who supposedly represents the common man, and those in the media who echo her are calling the middle classes un-American. She must not realize just how out of touch that makes her appear. She must not realize how patently ridiculous her statement sounds. This country was founded by protesting government. What does she think the founders were doing with their British masters? Before there was violent revolution there were protests that the British government refused to listen to. It is not the protesters who should be feared, it is those with power who speak against them who should be feared. These are the same tactics used by the Nazi propagandists in pre-war Germany to quell dissent against their rise to power. It is those who would chastise the protesters who are un-American. It is those who wish to supplant free market enterprises with socialized models and government run institutions who are un-American. Americans are finally waking up and attempting to take back their government and reclaim respect for their freedoms and liberties. It is the un-Americans who have grabbed power and are now trying to bind everyone into a forced soviet style society.

Arlen Specter, who can't even decide what party he wants to be affiliated with, after being heckled by many protesters who did not like what they had seen in the proposed health care legislation, decided to try to somewhat placate his constituents. He said he felt that their opinions should be considered, but he didn't think they were necessarily representative of America. What country does he think they're representative of, Zimbabwe? As far as I'm aware, there are very few foreigners at these town hall meetings. Maybe some of the foreign press, but I doubt that any of the protesters are anything other than American.

I suggest that the protesters are very representative of America, Mr. Specter, and that unlike you they understand the foundations on which America was built. This nation became prosperous by encouraging free markets and enterprises, not by introducing government intrusions and mandates into every aspect of our lives. This nation was made prosperous because of hard working individuals looking to make better lives for themselves, not because of people seeking favor and entitlements from government. This nation became prosperous because its government stayed out of people's lives and allowed them to interact and do business in a voluntary manner, not by setting prices and dictating what products and services can and can't be sold in the marketplace. This nation became prosperous because of rugged individualists taking responsibility for their own lives, not because of frightened collectivists looking to government to take care of them.

One of my own senators, Mr. Dick Durbin, refuses to even try to host any town hall meetings. He has said that he feels that no meaningful dialog would be achieved over all the shouting. I guess that's politically more acceptable than saying that he refuses to listen to the concerns of his constituents. I guess it's more politically acceptable to simply dismiss masses of protesters before they even get the chance to gather than it is to stand before them and tell them that you've already made up your mind, and their collective minds along with it, and that you don't care what they think or how they react.

Barack Obama himself is holding public forums to try to "sell" us on his version of health care reform. He says he wants to "clear up" some of the "misconceptions" about the proposed health care reform that have been circulating lately. I guess that's politically more acceptable than saying he wants to gently force this legislation down our throats. Well, Mr. Obama, perhaps if this bill was written in plain English rather than in legalese there would be no misconceptions. Perhaps if it wasn't fourteen hundred pages or so long it would be easier to understand and less tiresome to wade through. Perhaps if the lawmakers were required to read the laws they voted on and abide by the laws they pass as the people of this nation are required to, perhaps then so many of the American public would not need to be "sold" on any particular piece of legislation. Personally, I believe that less government involvement in health care and less restrictions on the industry would allow for an infusion of entrepreneurial competition and innovation that would drive down prices. But if this type of health care reform is what the politicians feel the American people want, then perhaps they should write several short, concise bills, read them and let each portion stand or fall in public debate on its own merit rather than wrapping the whole thing in a behemoth bill and forcing us all to accept the bad, potentially deadly merits with the good.

Laws in this country should be easy for all to understand. If you speak English, you shouldn't need a lawyer to tell you what the law means. It used to be that way, and the law used to be obvious to all, that's why it was said that ignorance of the law was no excuse. The law wasn't broken unless an individual was being harmed or his rights were being violated. We have fallen a long way since that time. Individual rights no longer matter to those who exercise power over us. They don't care about our rights or our power, they only care about control, their power and their privileges. A law that would require them to read the bills before they voted on the bills, that gave the people of this country time to read the bills and that gave us time to express our views on the bills would go a long way toward restoring the freedom and prosperity that was once prevalent in this nation. DownsizeDC.org has a simple, easy to understand "Read the Bills Act" already written and ready to be introduced to congress. After all the protests over health care legislation this summer, it would be a perfect time for some representative to introduce such a bill when the summer break ends. Perhaps if enough people encourage him, your representative will be the one that introduces such a bill.

I just touched on a few of the comments these collectivists have been heard to say in the last few days. There are many, many more examples of the disdain for the people many of our "representatives" are expressing. If it is not obvious to you by now that these political elite don't care about you or what you think, Barack Obama included, then perhaps you think as they do and don't care for freedom and personal responsibility. Perhaps you do not wish to grow up and maybe you like the idea of someone taking care of you from cradle to grave. Perhaps you enjoy being obedient to your masters and have no desire to be self determined and independent. I wish you the best of luck and hope you find happiness in your servitude, but I doubt very much that things will turn out well for you in the long run.

This episode should also have made it clear the importance of passing a law requiring lawmakers to read the bills they vote on. The last few years have seen some of the most ominous tomes ever become law. These bills that are thousands of pages long and impossible for anyone to completely understand need to be stopped. The ones that have been passed need to be repealed. Government needs to shrink, not grow. Its power needs to be curtailed, not increased. The people of this country, for the most part, have had enough. Mostly, if they are like me, than they just want to be left alone. More and more often I am hearing this when I talk to people. They just want government out of their lives. They just want to be left alone to live as they see fit. Is that too much to ask?

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