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The American Way: Speaking Out, Advocacy, Whining, Snipping, and Ranting

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U.S. Presidents have been speaking out to members of Congress for a long time, and vice versa. Supreme Court Justices speak out every week, at the very least, and members of Congress get to have their say every minute of every day, or so it seems.

So, why the fuss when they disagree (e.g. making faces or outbursts)? It’s often about manners (e.g.), or history, or protocol, or even just frustration. Sometimes it’s about maturity and gravitas and mental health and sometimes it’s just about childish behavior. It might help if we had a Question Time where members of Congress could get it all out their systems, but that’s their own fault. If members of Congress wanted a Question Time, they could make that happen (House and Senate).

But we can all speak out. Isn’t that what America is about?

For the record:

1) The U.S. President gets to speak out at press conferences and the State of the Union Address, and just about any time the news-media write or speak out on the President and the Presidency.

2) The U.S. Supreme Court Justices get to speak out every time they issue an opinion. They can speak out singly or in groups in their decisions. U.S. Supreme Court Justices also speak publicly and issue reports, so they too get to speak out for money, glory, and for the sheer joy of getting it out of their systems.

3) The U.S. Congress (House & Senate) gets to speak out on “the floor,” and everywhere else, from C-span, to news outlets, to their constituents, and especially, they speak out in legislation, that is, the United States Code (USC).

(Did you ever notice how if you enter “Congress” into Google, you don’t get a dot gov website called Congress, but only individual House and Senate websites? Or, if you enter the URL “congress.gov,” you get Thomas, not Congress. Curious. … Even if you go to USA dot gov, you won’t find a unified “Congress” mentioned on the homepage. Curiouser. … And you wonder why they behave the way they do and why people have very little idea how government works. … Thomas is great, but it’s not CONGRESS, if you see what I mean. There is Wikipedia’s Congress and Ben’s Congress, so we pretty much have Congress’s number, so to speak. But you’d think the House and the Senate could at least agree on a Congress dot Gov website.)

4) State Governors, judges, and legislators get to speak out too, in speeches, judicial opinions, and in state legislation (e.g. the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS)).

5) What about you? You also get to speak out, especially by voting, but also by expressing yourself in other ways. Make sure you do so, because if the above people speak out without hearing from you, we’re all in big trouble.