06/01/2010 05:39 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How Congress Works, Rendered Visually

Like a lot of people, the foundation of my understanding of how a bill becomes a law was shaped by the Schoolhouse Rock cartoon "I'm Just A Bill", which spent three minutes teaching us that our wise founders developed a wonderfully streamlined mechanism of governance that would never lead anyone to issue an exclamation -- generally set apart from a sentence by an exclamation point, or by a comma when the feeling's not as strong -- over it's lack of function.

Of course, everything we were ever told as children turned out to be a terrible lie, and the workings of Congress are no different. The governing process is actually a mess of hearings and influence peddling and parliamentary nonsense and backroom skullduggery that would require a talented musician to compose a two-hour opera filled with angry recitative and dyspeptic arias.

But where song fails us, designer/illustrator Mike Wirth's pictoral depiction of the process is a smashing success! As information-rich as it is visually delightful, Wirth's illustration captures the legislative process as a loopy board game shot through with perilous obstacles, copious lobbying opportunities, and numerous points along the path where the threat of failure looms like... well, like an angry red hand!

That's just an amuse-bouche for your eyes to get you attenuated to the joyful design of the original, which I recommend you click through to and enjoy for yourselves. For more of Wirth's creations, click here.

[Hat Tip: Computational Legal Studies]

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