How Laws Are Made
Have you ever noticed that there is no real instruction for people on how laws are made? When you search on the Internet for how laws are made, you will usually find diagrams. These diagrams show where the laws start, usually in one chamber of a legislative body, and then how they go from committee to sponsor to legal counsel for review and a vote etc. However, nowhere in these diagrams does it show where the voters are involved in the process, except sometimes at the very beginning. So basically you are not included in the lawmaking process, if you’re an average person.
Why is that?
Well for starters, the passive wording, “How Laws Are Made” makes it sound like an anthropologist is studying the Argentinian beetle in 1805. For example, “Please observe how these laws are made.” It makes it seem like the laws have feet, get up on their own and walk from committee room to committee room and scream out “please vote on me.”
That’s what these diagrams show us. But that’s not how the process works.
So don’t you think we need a place where citizens can come together to come up with ideas for improvements that they think the government should implement? I think so. The title should not be “How Laws Are Made” but instead “How Do I Make A Law?”
Or change a law, fix a law or repeal a law… You need to be in the picture.
Right now, all the power is left to whoever is familiar with the process and is on the inside. However, an individual voter can affect most of what needs to happen.
Imagine making laws was like the Kentucky Derby. Instead of only showing the horse race from the track on the day of the race, what if we showed how the horse owners, trainers and everybody else spent years developing their horse for the big race? In other words, instead of just showing the bill once it enters a government legislative chamber, what if we showed the entire process from the beginning to the end; how an individual needs to nurture an idea, build a coalition, gain followers, refine and debate the idea, and then finally move it toward a sponsor or representative?
Then you don’t come in at the last minute with a half-baked idea. We know that when people are involved in a process early on, they are much more likely to support and nurture the idea to which they have contributed.
No contribution, no interest.
So is it any wonder that when a 2000 page omnibus bill is passed and then implemented, such as the Affordable Care Act, that the citizenry looks at it in complete disbelief and wonders why they were never involved in the process.
The government on the other hand thinks that if they have a few meetings with a couple of special interest groups, that all of the people in the country have been included. Well no, that’s not actually true. The only people who were involved were a few special interests like the healthcare providers, insurance companies, doctors, medical staff and maybe some of the underwriters. Furthermore, the government most likely uses leading questions like “Don’t you agree with page 35?” when sharing the proposed legislation with the special interest groups.
That’s what bad writers do. “Don’t you think this is the best movie you’ve ever seen?” “Didn’t you love that particular scene on page 87?” “Don’t you think I have a great character here?” The answer ultimately to all these questions is no.
If you do not consult the individual voter, member, audience listener or reader early on, then the likelihood of engaging them later on is very remote.
So to the legislators I say get your people, the voters, involved early on. And to the citizens and voters I say go further than just learning how laws are changed. Instead learn about your personal role in the process and how you can change a law. And to everyone else, isn’t it about time you cared more and took some interest in the governance of your own life? After all you’re paying for it.
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