Congressional Puff Pieces

My job at Maplight.org. is to research who supports and who opposes federal legislation, and then to find out how various special interest groups’ position on legislation dictate their campaign contributions to members of Congress who voted either yes or no on that bill.

So today, this bill comes down the pipeline into my assigned cue, and I just had to laugh, because my God, what a puff piece. This legislation (S. 720), titled “Army Specialist Joseph P. Micks Federal Flag Code Amendment Act of 2007,” amends title 4 of the US Code to

“to authorize the Governor of a State, territory, or possession of the United States to order that the National flag be flown at half-staff in that State, territory, or possession in the event of the death of a member of the Armed Forces from that State, territory, or possession who dies while serving on active duty.”

If you actually read the bill, you will find out that it doesn’t do or say anything that is remotely meaningful. After all, what does it really do: it allows a governor of any US territories to fly the flag at half-staff if a solider from that territory died on active duty.

Well, boo-fucking-hoo.

Don’t get me wrong, I think that giving soldiers who died on active duty their due respect is a morally legitimate thing to do. But to make a law out of it? And a puff legislation at that? That is just ridiculous.

This bill is constructed in a way that no one can possibly be opposed to it, because to do so is to be called unpatriotic. But how exactly is enacting such a law truly patriotic? This is a blatant piece of manipulative, self-masturbatory law that is designed for no other purpose than for its sponsors and co-sponsors to go back to their districts and states and puff up their chests and say that they “really respect the sacrifices that our brave men and women have made while serving in the line of duty.”

Anyone who has done some research into how Congress, especially the Senate, works, realizes after a while that the Senate really doesn’t do that much, but whatever little work that Senators do end up consisting of puff piece legislations like this.

I recommend this video which hilariously explains just how little Congress actually works:


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