Nothing can be so bad, that it can't be made worse through federal regulation. -Kevin McAllister
Yeah, that's right, I quoted myself. So what?! Anyway, the trigger to that utterance was a rather innocuous article about digital cable, and some federal regulations that have been created to somehow make things better by requiring some technology be put into televisions which alleviates the need for a separate set top box to receive and decode digital cable.
But it got me to thinking, how does my ability to get digital cable without a separate box help to, "… form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity …." Which, of course, are the reasons for the formation of the federal government laid out in the constitution. The simple answer, which is clearly visible from my lofty position as the one who seems to completely understand everything, is that the regulation does none of those things. Yet it exists.
So what recourse do I have to prevent dumb regulations from being enacted? I can ply my congress critter's many minions with my insightful rhetoric, and hope that he cares to take my opinion under consideration when he is doing his duty in this republic. But as it says right there on the label, he is not a proxy for me, he will ultimately make his own decision. Of course I will continue my vigorous assault on all who dare to represent my interests, but it would be nice to have other options.
Well then, while I was googling to see if my quote above was indeed original, I stumbled upon Regulations.gov. I have long known about the Federal Register, where various government output is revealed in all its infinite, and excruciatingly boring, minutia. And I had even read through some of it for a while. But I never knew there was an easy way to give comments and feedback on proposed regulations. So, it seems, this Regulations.gov was created to fulfill exactly that purpose.
So learn from my stumbling. Do your civic duty. Not only shall you vote, but now you shall have your voice heard when the feds start trying to swat flys with buicks. I think I will have to try at least weekly to comment on one proposed regulation. And maybe I can pass this practice on to my offspring and other disciples that habitually enjoy my prose. In this way we can continue to teach the lesson that was so eloquently summed up by President Clinton, on the Simpsons, "If things don't go your way, just keep complaining until your dreams come true."
By the way, Register to vote. Now! The deadline for registering to vote in the General Election is October 4, 2004.