Originally Posted by steelreserve
Well, that's the core of the issue right there. It's a question of access to "The System," and for the average person, there really isn't much of that unless you dedicate your entire life to changing the law.
Let's say I wanted to change the law in California so Stallworth would've gotten more time in jail. Where would I start? I could write a letter to my congressman, and it would be ignored. I could write to my state legislator, and it would be ignored. I could write a letter to the editor, maybe they'll publish it, but even then, nothing comes of it. At any point along the way on those paths, there's a "gatekeeper" who's more likely than not to dismiss you as a crazy person for having such an intense interest in a subject.
So there go the easy options ... what else? I could try to get a ballot measure passed -- but wait, this state is so big and unmanageable that you need more than a million signatures to do that. So good luck unless I'm already heavily involved and connected in politics. I guess I could run for office, or hire a lawyer and file a lawsuit. Those could conceivably work.
Problem is, with any of those, you're right back to dedicating your whole life to it, and that's not something most people can afford to do. That's why I really do believe there's become a disconnect in our system of "representation," and it's discouraging enough that common people mostly won't take more than a passing interest in it. So if it doesn't affect you or your family directly ... well, then yeah, mostly you don't have the time or energy to do more than register your complaint in a general sense. Multiply that by 50 issues you're unhappy with and could potentially be fighting for, and it looks even more pointless. That's why you find me here on the message board instead out on the street marching and breaking bottles or whatever it is you supposed I should be doing.
Sorry, man. Your theory works well on paper, but it's pretty hopeless down here at ground level.
Ever heard of MADD? They are responsible for the vast majority of law changes in the nation re: DUI. There is an equally strong argument that they have gone over the line.
Just because it is difficult to change a law does not mean the system is broke. If it were easy to change laws, laws would change all the time. You are right that a lot goes into a law being changed, enacted, repealed, whatever, and it should. You shouldn't be able to wake up one morning and say, I don't like this, let's change it. Most laws have been vetted substantially, so you are bound to meet some resistance. Likewise if you can't find a million people to sign on to your new law in a state the size of CA, maybe your proposal isn't that great. It should be a challenge to change to law and I have no qualms with it being that way.