A few weeks back I attended the United Way annual dinner in Hunterdon County, and as always as a United Way Board member, I was sitting at a table with several UW supporters, clients, and volunteers. Being one of the only Democrats at the table is not an unusual experience for me, and the subject matter always turns to local, state and national politics.
Now, even the Republicans at the table have nothing to crow about regarding national politics these days with ‘Mr. 28%’ [and falling in NJ, thank you] in the White House, and both of NJ’s Senators being Dems. The same can be said for Trenton with the Dems holding both houses of the Legislature and Drumthwacket. [I always like saying “Drumthwacket”, mostly because when I was growing up in Brooklyn my house did not have a name.]
Anyway, the only thing the that many Repubs in Hunterdon have to drone on about these days is local politics. After our discussion about the Rs heated sheriff’s race and the multiple candidate freeholder race, the main R at my table made an ‘interesting’ observation:
“Problem with you Democrats is, you want too many damn laws! Laws for this! Laws for that. We should have a limited number of laws. Like we do in the Constitution. Just a dozen or so amendments. Like we do in the Bible. Only ten commandments there. And we do OK with them.”
Now when I came to the table, I had figured the guy voted for GW with his being a Repub and all----but after his last comment, my figuring was confirmed. So, I played along, and inquired, “Well, that’s interesting, how many laws do you think we should have?”
“Maybe no more than a hundred. Or a thousand, if you really need them," he chimed, with a big smile on his face.
Now, that I was too far in to this discussion to get out, I asked, “So, when we reach the limit, do we get rid of some laws? How do we do that?”
The answer seemed so logical to him:
“Well, you just set up a state commission to get rid of the old laws. I’m not saying you just get rid of the oldest ones first, but the commission looks at the bad laws, and just -----Phsxxsst [insert Bronx cheer here, which I do not know how to spell]---get rid of them. Off the books. Sayonara, amigo.”
Well, at least he has a sense of diversity ---- with his ‘Sayonara, amigo’ quip.
Before, I turned to my right and spoke to the one other Democrat at the table---the one with good sense to not speak to Mr. Repub, I asked finally, “This commission you want to set up to get rid of the extra laws---wouldn’t that require a new law to set up the commission? And what law would you get rid of to establish the new law to set up the commission?”
“I leave that to the lawyers”, he replied confidently.
Good call to give to ‘the lawyers’, I thought. And people always ask me ‘So, where do you get your comedy from? Real life, I say, real life.
Tomorrow: There is actually a commission that gets rid of old laws: The Law Review Commission. Well, some times they do, and sometimes it’s too ‘controversial’. But that story is for tomorrow.