- Knowingly and openly pass bills that are hundreds or even thousands of pages long which they haven't read, don't understand, haven't done a due diligence on and have no idea what's in the fine print -- nor do they care.
- Bundle bills the way some investment firms bundle securities.
- Will change the content of a bill every hour on the hour up to the time of the vote. This is done to such a degree that objectionable clauses are taken out of a bill (or hidden somewhere else in it), in order to get conscientious politicians to vote for it, but then those objectionable clauses are quietly inserted back into the bill just before the vote.
- Will declare a politician persona non grata if the politician doesn't back the president or routinely vote party line or for the agenda, thereby forcing the conscientious politician to compromise his or her principles -- if that politician is ever to have any hope of getting party support and accomplishing his or her goals. Once compromised, that politician is rarely of any further honorable use. Gone are the times of voting one's conscience, thinking for oneself and representing the constituents. Gone is the ability to affect change, because as soon as a politician "plays ball," that politician has been compromised.
- A primary reason to pass a law is to solve a problem. But in order to solve the problem, one must have a thorough understanding of it. One must actually look at and examine the problem. This simple fundamental applies to all aspects of life, including the settling of arguments, and the operation of government is no exception. This begs the question to our politicians: "How can you be sure the bill you haven't read is going to solve the problem you haven't looked at?"
- Did you know that it is not uncommon for the House and Senate to pass a bill, and for the president to sign it into law, all in a single day? If politicians are going to pass laws for the good of all, shouldn't the people be able to see the final version of the bill well in advance of the vote? "You do what we tell you to do. We don't want your input." Isn't that what dictators do? Most bills passed by Congress are implemented months or even years later.There is no reason Congress can't provide the people with the finished version of the bill 30 days before the final vote. They should be proud to do so. To ensure that a bill is realistic, is as good as it can possibly be, and doesn't favor the few to the detriment of the many, the bill must be made available to the public, so that we can not only provide thoughtful input, but can also protect ourselves from poorly thought out bills and from self-serving special interests trying to hijack the political process.
- Bundling bills is a perfect method by which vested interests are able to take control. A politician puts together a brilliant bill for the good of all, but then all sorts of other unrelated and often harmful clauses and/or bills are added to it. What is the politician to do? Vote "no" because this bundled bill is clearly subpar, or vote "yes" because this one decent aspect of the bill might not ever get a second chance?
- History shows us that politicians primarily operate off of the honor system. As time passes, the honor system becomes less and less heeded. In our government the "honor system" is to some degree contained in the House and Senate rules. It is the honor system because these are merely rules and are often ignored, especially the rules concerning due diligences, personal profit, and integrity. This lack of concrete rules, under threat of job loss or jail time, is a fundamental cause of failed governments.
B. One subject per bill. To make sure legislators aren't forced to vote in favor of poorly thought out bills, NO more bundling. A bill should stand on its merit alone.
C. To make sure the bill solves the problem, no vote shall count on a bill where a 100% accurate statement of the problem isn't included in the bill.
D. No more deals behind closed doors.
E. Currently members of Congress can't be recalled, thus are free to do whatever they want. To increase accountability, we should be able to recall members of Congress who are clearly violating their oath and/or voting against the wishes of the majority of their constituents.
F. No Congresspersons' vote shall be valid on anything for which they, their friends or their associates stand to profit.
G. No member of Congress should be allowed to vote in favor of a bill which he/she hasn't personally read, understood to the best of his/her ability, and also performed a due diligence on.
H. Set up an effective ethics system (one with teeth), which also protects and rewards decent people when they report illegal and unethical activities in the Halls of Congress and government.
With a structure like this in place, American citizens would once again be listened to. With the environment created by these and other common sense reform laws, a much higher percentage of the people running for office would be the hard-working, honest, selfless type -- as is the case with law enforcement and the military. With simple reforms like these, we can see whose fingers are in the pie, and we can take action -- before the fact, not after the damage has already been done.
To recap, our constitution allows 535 people to make laws we have to live by, which in a representative government is acceptable. But these 535 people are currently passing laws they don't understand which are supposed to solve problems they haven't examined. To make matters worse, Congress does not solicit and oftentimes ignores our input when making these decrees. We have to wait until after the laws are passed to find out what we are now subject to. Isn't this more of a dictatorship than anything else?
Explain this procedure to a ten year old, and that child will look at you in disbelief.
It is time for Americans to once again stand side by side to defend America, but this time from an unchecked political procedure which is obviously idiotic.
Improvements come about through change of public opinion and attitudes which solidify into customs and social values -- and then into votes.
Women's right to vote and the the Civil Rights Act are perfect examples. Politicians didn't pass these laws because they were the right thing to do. Otherwise, they would have fixed these injustices a long time earlier. Simply put, they did it because we as a people had enough of these inequities, and we made it clear that these were unacceptable.
Recently, the SOPA and PIPA bills were well on their way to being passed in both the House and the Senate. These bills would have made it possible for our government to shut down websites (personal and business) on suspicion alone and without a trial. Millions of us banded together and opposed these bills. As a result, Congress dropped them like hot potatoes.
Congress complies when we unite and DEMAND it.
Only with reform will America overcome its current crises and rise to even greater heights.
Let's band together to demand Congressional reform.
If not for ourselves, let's do it for our children and grandchildren. Furthermore, it is time for us to sacrifice our time and effort for the millions of people we'll never know, so that they have chances and opportunities we never had. This is what heroes do. There are too many countries where oppression still reigns supreme that are counting on us to set the example. After all, that is the American way.
Please go to: www.demandcongressionalreform.com and sign our petition. And, be sure to join us July 17th, as we converge on Capitol Hill to demand Congressional Reform.