Trapped in the Legislative Sausage Factory

Watching laws being made has turned America's stomach.

Je weniger die Leute darüber wissen, wie Würste und Gesetze gemacht werden, desto besser schlafen sie nachts.

Trans: The less the people know about how sausages and laws are made, the better they sleep in the night.

- misattributed to Otto von Bismark

For most of America's history that's worked very well.  Americans cared about politics for a couple of weeks every two years when the incumbents would explain (or explain away) what they'd done and the challengers would holler that it was a threat to the Republic.  Then everybody would vote, the winner would give thanks, and we'd all go home until the next time.  The lawmaking process stayed safely private under the Capitol dome.

Not anymore.  Barack Obama famously abandoned his promise to put all bills on the Internet for five days before signing them, but that hasn't stopped others from trumpeting Congress' latest monstrosities across the fruited plain.

And what a sight, and stench, they are!  Among the more noxious bits of Obamacare, which we did not even have to wait until it was passed to find out that they were in, were the "Cornhusker Kickback" and "Louisiana Purchase" whereby Yea votes were purchased from the senators of Nebraska and Louisiana respectively.

No doubt, throughout history legislatures have often voted on bills they have not read.  Only now is this laziness being rubbed in our face.

Representatives have always cut sordid political deals to accomplish their own ends; now, however, that very afternoon an email blast goes out to their constituents explaining what they did and how much was robbed from the taxpayers.

The results are what you'd expect, and hope for.  Peggy Noonan reports:

"The more they know," [Rep. Marsha] Blackburn observes, "the less they like Washington."

Do tell.  The sausage factory doors are thrown open and the entire country is having its nose rubbed in the filth therein, over and over and over.

More or less the same thing happened to actual sausage factories with The Jungle, a muckraking book whose nauseating stories of meat-processing drove popular demand for a cleanup.  Who did the people turn to for cleansing?  The government, of course - and our perennial food scares illustrate just exactly how effective that was.

With Congress' dirty deeds revealed for all to see and loathe, what's the solution?  Throw all the bums out - but we've tried that before.  Keep them on a short leash?  Maybe, but that requires an attention span that the American people have not demonstrated heretofore.

However, human beings learn from pain - and millions of Americans have been suffering some pretty extreme pain at the hands of our greedy, feckless, incompetent government.  Maybe being forced to swim in the offal of old-style corrupt legislation-making will make us livid enough to clean up the swamp once and for all.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Politics.
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