Thursday, July 19, 2007

Democracy 101: We the People are Asleep at the Wheel

Bridgethought of the Day: Vigilance has to be a collective action - there's just too much for one person to see. One more argument for real democracy. Something the U.S. could use more of...

A movement to "Downsize DC" has been launched that cuts across party and other "invisible" lines. One of the most valuable aspects of this movement is the impetus to actually force our "representative" Congress to represent us - while doing their job - by actually reading, and discussing, the bills they pass which ultimately affect our lives more than we may realize. Unfortunately for us, many in power understand how Americans are too busy conducting their own lives to pay much attention to what Congress is doing. And what they are doing is not necessarily what it looks like.

For example, On July 11, Congress passed the Food and Drug Administration Administration Act (you read that correctly), which ran to an astonishing 308 pages. Health freedom advocates warn that this bill will turn the FDA into a public-private partnership with the ability to develop and patent drugs on its own.

They further warn this bill will jeopardize our access to vitamins and other nutritional supplements that compete with Big Pharma. But only forty minutes were allowed for debate, and amendments could not be proposed or considered. Instead of questioning this process, Congress rubber-stamped the bill with only 16 votes against it.

How many of the 403 who voted "yea" blindly followed the advice of lobbyists and Congressional leaders? How many then patted themselves on the back for "protecting" the American people from supposedly "dangerous" foods?

How many, if they actually read the bill, would have been appalled by some of the provisions, and demanded full debate and amendments? How many would have worked to defeat the bill?

We'll never know, because right now members of Congress aren't even required to read and understand the bills they pass. But when they rubber-stamps bills, they're not representing us. They may look busy, but they're not actually doing the job they were elected to do.We can change this. We can force Congress to pass the Read the Bills Act and make them do their job. You can learn more about the Read the Bills Act here.

We are actually responsible about this, too. It's not enough to simply vote for Representatives. We have to have a look at what they are doing, and what we really need and want to be done. And if we are supposed to be their bosses, it doesn't help that we don't seem to know or care what the hell they are doing. What happens when the driver falls asleep at the wheel?

You get Cheney-Bush, and the Constitution is about to crash. Will somebody start swerving away from that cliff???

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