Illinois Rant Shows Problem With Modern American Democracy
Rants are nothing new, and they’re always popular. Who doesn’t love to watch a video of somebody totally losing it? Particularly if the person in question is a legislator.
The last time, it was Anthony Weiner, well before he decided to show his, erm, weiner, on Twitter. That was actually pretty funny, I admit, but I think what Mike Bost, Illinois State Representative, had to say was far, far better:
Here’s a quick summary, courtesy of ABC News:
Bost, a Republican, unloaded on Democrats led by House Speaker Mike Madigan for setting votes on pension reform bills without providing enough time for lawmakers to assess the measures after they emerged from committee.
“Total power in one person’s hands, not the American way!” Bost screamed, tossing the bill up in the air and then taking an errant swing at the papers as they fluttered down around him. He then took the papers that settled near him and threw them at his colleagues.
“These damn bills that come out here all the damn time, come out here at the last second, and I’ve got to try to figure out how to vote for my people? You should be ashamed of yourselves! I’m sick of it! Every year we give power to one person! It was not made that way in the Constitution!”
“Enough!” he yelled, his arms flailing. “I feel like somebody trying to be released from Egypt. Let my people go! My God, they sent me here to vote for them! To argue for them! But I’m trapped. I’m trapped by the rules that have been forced down our throats.”
“Folks,” he pleaded, dropping his voice almost to a whisper, “we live in a democracy, but not here. But not here.”
Now, as to actual bill, I think it should be shot down, in a way, because I think that public unions should just be dissolved and pensions should undergo massive reform, moving to defined-contribution plans and lowering the impact on taxpayers, rather than this piddling “reform.” But I deeply sympathize with Mr. Bost in his general sentiment. Currently, as it stands, we don’t really have a democracy; instead we have a system where a few powerful people can manipulate the levers of government and effectively get anything they want passed just by shoving it through without review. Remember the PATRIOT Act, how nobody read it? Remember Obamacare, where they had to pass it before they found out what was in it? That’s not the way government works. Or, at least, how its supposed to.
On the national level, DownsizeDC has an excellent piece of model legislation called the “Read the Bills Act,” which should be signed into law and then made part of the Constitution. I think someone should sent this to Mr. Bost and see if he would like to make an Illinois equivalent.
If there is one problem I have with this, it’s this: why the hell aren’t more Americans screaming at the top of their lungs just like Mr. Bost?