Laws Are Like Sausages …

sausage-makingTwenty years ago, my first job out of graduate school was lobbying for an organization that promoted better mental health policy and treatment. (Note: Since we lobbied for a social cause versus a for-profit business, we referred to ourselves as advocates, not lobbyists. The only practical difference though was that advocates were paid peanuts while lobbyists ate peanuts as they flew around on corporate jets.)

It did not take me long to discern the truth behind the old adage “Laws are like sausages – it is better to not see them being made.”

With the onset of the Internet and consumer-directed marketing, I’m convinced that the sausage-like legislative process has taken a decided turn for the worse.

On my way home yesterday I heard a radio ad urging listeners to contact Congress and request that Boeing be awarded the contract to build the next generation of aerial refueling tankers for the U.S. Air Force. There’s a website – – that touts the benefits of Boeing-built tankers versus the other company that’s competing for the $37 billion contract.

So, let me get this straight: Boeing is asking us – Joe the Plumber and Elaine the Blogger – to weigh in on as to which company should be awarded this ginormous contract of great significance to our national security.

Hmmmm …  What sage advice or insight can I offer Congress and the U.S. Air Force as they consider the pros and cons of the competitive bids? Do my business and social work degrees give me ANY credibility to voice an opinion on aerial refueling tankers?

Uh, that’s a no. Actually, it’s a “Hell, no!”

I’m all for grassroots input, community organizing and transparency in government. But, Boeing’s campaign strikes me as the big bad business wolf masquerading in sheep’s clothing (aka the democratic process we hold so dear).

Anyone else hear this type of ad? Is it only a phenomenon in the DC area? All I know is that listening to Boeing’s manipulation of marketing to the American public irritated the hell out of me. And, that hot and bothered feeling was due to more than the 101 degree reading on my car thermometer.


  • Sharon Says:
    7-9-2010 08:14:58

    I agree. We elect people to represent us and make decisions in our best interests. That does not mean we will agree with every decision, but our government is built on that representation. If we don’t like the decisions our representatives and senators make, then we vote them out of office. In my state we have had important legislation passed that would improve people’s lives, laws that took months and months to write and pass through the legislative process. And in one check of the box some of those laws have been reversed through the referendum process. I don’t agree with every law on the books, but I trust my legislators to do the right thing and to know that if they don’t they will lose their job.

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