The rules of the game determine how it is played. And if few but the players know the rules, the spectators can be confused. They might believe in an ideal version of the game that doesn’t exist, but which they insistently tell new observers is how the game is played.
I speak of politics and the making of laws.
To satisfy this discrepancy between the taught ideal and observed behavior, I propose the following, none of which I expect to be adopted:
- that there be one or more rooms, legislative chambers if you will, reserved for the purpose of making laws;
- that all debate on laws be within the legislative chambers;
- that debate cannot start or continue unless a majority of the rule-makers is physically present in the chambers;
- that all debate be a matter of public record;
- that all discussions outside of the chambers in which rule-makers participate be a matter of public record;
- that, except in cases of national emergency requiring a declaration of war, all meetings of the assembly be held after sunrise and before sunset, local to the chambers;
- that all bills pertain to one and only one subject;
- that if a bill cannot be introduced and read aloud in its entirety before the end of a day, then the bill must be reduced in scope until said reading is possible;
- that all votes be taken in person in the chambers in the full view of the assembly;
- that all votes be attributed to the voter.
Much of the business of Congress is conducted secretly, alone or in small groups, under the cover of darkness, not unlike a conspiracy against the Public. And when Congress does act in public, it is naught but a performance.
But, you might ask, what about National Security? Are we at War that such an exception is necessary? Who then are we at war with?