In my opinion, virtually no person, or persons, who legislate or pass regulations ever stop to ask themselves whether the results of their actions are enforceable or the fact that what they pass will apply to everyone not just the targets of their efforts. This applies to school boards, city governments, state legislatures, parliaments, federal governments and every other citizen control mechanism.

Politicians tend to focus on “squeaky wheels” or the wishes of “important people” – translation: people with money and influence who might be able to support their re-election.

I have two examples from where I live and others on a more global basis, but the scenarios are the same, just different in scale.

The wife of a former head of the local university law school decided she wanted to control her children’s walking route to school so she lobbied using every ploy at her disposal to persuade the local authorities to install a “25mph school zone complete with flashing lights” on the main street near her house. There is no school close to that location. Even more ridiculous, it is still there today even though she has been dead for many years and her children long gone. More recently a group of influential cyclists lobbied the local city council to impose a 20mph speed limit on the entire city of 106,567 (2020) people. They have every right to do that but when are we going to elect officials who put the community, not to mention common sense, above the “influence” of a few individuals.

On the U.S. Federal level, “pork-barrel” legislation is rampant. It is an accepted way of getting pet projects through the system, almost surreptitiously, by “hiding” them in bigger bills.

“Best politicians money can buy!!”

Why don’t we institute mandatory courses in governance for all new members of legislative and regulatory bodies. I know from first-hand observation that new U.S. Congress men and women spend the first year of their elected two-year term trying to figure out the system works and the second year trying to get re-elected. A six-month training course in governance would benefit everyone – the Congress man or woman, and their constituents. Ditto for city councils and school boards. Admittedly, that wouldn’t stop the abuse of their power but it is a step forward, and it would stop the abuse caused by ignorance.

I seem to be espousing pipe-dreams lately but maybe that’s not such a bad idea. Someone, at some point, might actually listen.

And while I’m at it, why don’t we re-introduce mandatory courses on “Civics” and “Ethics”, perhaps rolled into “Citizen Responsibility”, into the school systems and even the university systems. Now there’s a revolutionary idea!

Another Blog will address a related concept: The more often legislative and regulatory bodies meet, the more idiocies they turn into law and regulations because they have to fill their time.

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