4342 miles for freedom

Saturday, February 04, 2006

schoolhouse rock

When I was a kid, Saturday morning was one of the highlights of my week. My mom would usually buy something sugar-laden and unhealthy like cinnamon rolls or fruit-filled Danish pastries, and I'd wake up extra early to get in a good solid morning of sugar buzz and cartoons. Bugs Bunny was my favorite, always sticking it to the man and delivering a well-timed smartass remark. I also enjoyed Schoolhouse Rock episodes, which were little musical cartoons designed to be educational. And they actually worked! I still know all the words to the Preamble of the Constitution, although I have an embarrassing tendency to sing them. I know the purpose of a conjunction, as well as several other grammatical constructs. And I remember the sad little bill stuck in committee, hoping to one day become a real live law. I've been thinking about that little bill a lot lately, because I've been participating in the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance's bill triage team and reading bills 'til my eyes bleed. Basically, the team reads every single bill going through the New Hampshire legislature, rates each one as to its pro- or anti-liberty qualities, and tries to mobilize activists to lobby for or against particularly noteworthy ones. There are 1031 bills this session, so you can imagine the effort involved. There are about 30 of us working on this, most of us recent transplants to the state as members of the Free State Project. After a day at the office, my coworkers go home and watch Friends reruns or American Idol. I go home and read the latest "masterpieces" coming out of the House Committee on Environment and Agriculture, as well as the Senate Committee on Environment and Wildlife. Frankly, it's a bit demoralizing; there are so many bad (by "bad" I mean anti-liberty, pro-big government) bills, and a few laughably stupid ones, not to mention the ones that make me want to pound my head against my keyboard in frustration. And this is in New Hampshire; I shudder to even think about what's going through the California legislature right now. We are so few in number here; we can't fight them all. In fact, we can't fight more than a fraction of them, hence the use of the term "triage", which means sorting the ones who can be saved from those who are goners. I console myself by imagining myself in my favorite David vs Goliath scenarios from various books and movies (the ones in which David WINS, obviously!): Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance vs Darth Vader and the Galactic Empire... Malcolm Reynolds and the crew of Serenity vs the Alliance and the men with blue hands... Mad Max vs western Australia... Harry Potter vs Lord Voldemort (ok, it remains to be seen who's going to win that one, but my money's on the Boy who Lived). At any rate, my point is that, while it sometimes looks grim, it's not hopeless. That's not the fat lady singing; it's just a bill, only a bill, sitting there on Capitol Hill....


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