What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
photo credit: djotal
Ron Paul’s “Texas Straight Talk” for this week highlights his proposal of the “Sunlight Rule”, a change in procedure mandating that Congress be given at least 10 days to review any bill proposed for passage.
This is a much-needed rule on an important issue: the integrity of one’s vote. Surely we should not support any politician that blindly votes (regardless of it being a yea or nay) for a piece of legislation. The power our representatives wield necessitates a careful study of what is being proposed. Recklessly voting without understanding what they are voting for shows the intellectual dishonesty of those we have sent to Congress.
But as Paul notes in his article, the fault does not entirely rest upon the individual members of Congress. They are often given little time, once the legislation has been finalized, to review and consider it before they must cast a vote. For this very reason, Paul has proposed the rule that would allow our representatives to have sufficient time (and thus be held fully accountable for their votes) to understand the given issue.
With some bills spanning pages (enough to give somebody a hernia when carrying them), we see the wisdom in James Madison’s words when he commented on the result of such circumlocutory congressional concoctions (say that ten times fast!):
It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is today, can guess what it will be tomorrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known and less fixed? (James Madison, via Quoty)
Laws so unnecessarily verbose nearly guarantee that there exist some portions unnoticed by the public at large, lurking in the dark shadows of the massive pile of pages. In pursuit of fair representation and intellectual honesty, time must be provided to illuminate the abyss such monstrous bills create. For that reason, I support Paul’s “Sunlight Rule” and hope that our representatives pass and support this measure.