Friday, January 14, 2011

How a Bill Becomes Law

Copyright 2001 W. Bruce Cameron

The following steps trace the process by which a paternal proclamation becomes law in the Cameron household.

Step One: The father of the house issues an executive order that all Saturday activities will be suspended until the garage is cleaned up.

Step Two: The children form a committee and produce a report finding the order totally unconstitutional because it violates the "Cruel and Unusual" clause.

Step Three: The committee report is voided by paternal declaration.

Step Four: The ruling is appealed under the "This is stupid nobody else has to do this kind of stuff" doctrine of the "Equal Protection" clause. Specific examples are cited of other children who are not cleaning their garages.

Step Five: The "nobody else has to" doctrine is rejected as having no bearing on the case.

Step Six: Each child petitions separately for the relief under the "why do I have to do it none of it is my junk" theory.

Step Seven: The father rules that the individuals of the household are a family, that the junk in the garage belongs to the family, and that the family has the responsibility of cleaning it up.

Step Eight: The children attempt to stay the executive order by evading subpoena.

Step Nine: The father retrieves the children from their bedrooms and declares notice properly served.

Step Ten: The children plead pre-existing obligations that preempt the paternal proclamation. The oldest is due at the mall, the middle child has to go to a soccer game, and the youngest is yeah me too.

Step Eleven: Clarification is sought from the youngest on which of the two lame excuses is yeah me too: soccer game or the mall?

Step Twelve: The youngest says the soccer game.

Step Thirteen: The father rules the soccer game cannot preempt the garage cleanup.

Step Fourteen: The youngest says I meant the mall.

Step Fifteen: The father rules the mall cannot preempt the garage cleanup.

Step Sixteen: The children pass a resolution that the father is the meanest man in the world.

Step Seventeen: The father agrees to accept the "meanest man" amendment and calls for an end to the debate.

Step Eighteen: The children submit an emergency appeal on the grounds that there might be mice living in the garage.

Step Nineteen: The father issues an executive decree that he has authority over all rodents and that there are no mice in the garage.

Step Twenty: The children move for dismissal, claiming they are exempt because they have homework to do.

Step Twenty-One: The father consults the official Cameron family calendar and determines there is another day left in the weekend in which homework can be done.

Step Twenty-two: The children file a grievance with the Supreme Court of the house: their mother. A restraining order is sought prohibiting enforcement of the father's executive order on the grounds that he never listens, he is ruining our lives, he's mean, and if he really wants the garage cleaned up why doesn't he do it himself.

Step Twenty-Three: A constitutional crisis is averted when the wife hands down a decision supporting the father's right to order the children to clean up the garage.

Step Twenty-four: The children declare themselves no longer members of the family. As stateless persons, they are not subject to parental authority.

Step Twenty-five: The father agrees to expedite the emigration of each child on the date they achieve their majorities. Until the parents are released by the laws of the State of Colorado from their obligations, however, the family members are stuck with each other. Meanwhile, the father identifies further sanctions to be imposed upon delay of compliance with his order, including suspension of telephone privileges.

Step Twenty-six: The teenagers file a brief equating telephone cut-off with capital punishment.

Step Twenty-seven: The father further suspends all use of the family automobile until the garage is cleaned up enough to park the car in it.

Step Twenty-eight: The children petition for relief from further sanctions by agreeing to clean up the garage.

Thus, with these simple 28 steps, a bill moves through the checks and balances and becomes law.

It may not be the best system, but it's the only one we've got.

Write to the author at bruce@wbrucecameron.com

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