I’m Just A Bill… Yeah, Right
Do you remember Schoolhouse Rock? They were animated short videos designed to educate kids like me every Saturday morning during a break from cartoons. In a few minutes they tackled everything from grammar, science, economics, history, mathematics, and civics.
Who could forget Conjunction Junction? All about conjunctions of course.
Not so dry bones? Learn all the details about the human skeletal system.
Naughty number 3? Apparently it was bad- but I don’t remember the details.
The ones that most fascinated me though, were about the history of our country and the inner-workings of our government. I can honestly say that Schoolhouse Rock sparked me- I learned things that stuck with me and seemed much easier to understand later on in school.
The one that will always stick out in my mind- the one I admit to remembering more than I should after all this time, is “I’m Just a Bill.”- do you know it?
“I’m just a Bill, and I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill…”
Mister Bill explains to a young boy how an idea for a law becomes a bill, and hopefully becomes a law at the end of what appears to be a fairly simple, open, transparent process with minimal resistance.
Now that I’m grown, I know what Mister Bill sitting on Capitol Hill conveniently left out- that simple process is a farce.
All we have to do is look at healthcare reform to know this- nowhere in Schoolhouse Rock did they point out lobbyists working for special interest companies.
Mister Bill on Capitol Hill never had to face down the dreaded death panels, filibusters or teabaggers.
There were no politicians praying for the death of other politicians prior to voting Mister Bill into law, and there was absolutely, unequivocally, no Joseph Lieberman- trust me, I checked.
Clearly, Schoolhouse Rock lied to a generation.
Yes, the structure of our government allows us to make important change in our country for those who need it most.
But Schoolhouse Rock opted for a cozy, idealistic process, when the reality is truly its own sick, twisted cartoon.