December 16, 2009

Procedure Sucks

Well done:

To make matters more complicated, the Senate stumbled into health care gridlock after a Republican senator forced the clerk to read aloud a 767-page amendment.

Parliamentary procedures of all kinds, including my own nemesis, Robert's Rules of Order, are intended to allow meeting and decision to be orderly, rational, and fair. When we all have to live with the laws and policy being created, be they by your local school board or the US Senate, there has to be rules for making those laws. Anything else is dictatorship. Maybe a small and petty dictatorship (HOA's!) but still "Got to. This America, man."

But every parliamentary procedure system I've seen runs into the same fatal flaws to one degree or another. Too complex, to easy to manipulate, too dependent on the whims of the officials. Done right, procedure means decisions are timely, democratic, and open. But in the hands of the dumb or the venal you get the reading aloud of a 767 page amendment.

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