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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Lobbying in the 21st Century

    Our nation has been built on the idea that people have some fundamental, inalienable rights.’ Although these rights are outwardly stated in the Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments, the exact nature of these rights is still debated to this day.’ The first amendment gives people living in the United States the right to speak freely without any threat of violence or repression from the government.’ Still, certain rules and etiquette are required in certain venues.’ One will not hear the same type of language spoken at a football game as he or she would in a courtroom.

    Like the soul of a living body, we the people give life to our government.’ The way we enact legislation is, to put it bluntly, innately human.’ People with varying concerns and views all have their own idea of what legislation should and shouldn’t be enacted.’ The only way people can have their individual concerns addressed is to get the attention of legislators.’ As the population grows, more and more Americans will be vying for Congressional attention.’ One could say that the subject matter of legislation will not change dramatically.’ For example, people will still be concerned about issues such as education, healthcare, social security, terrorism, etc.’ However, with more people, the most basic concerns will be pulled in many more directions.

    The only way to ‘get what you want’ will be to have representatives vie for the attention of the government.’ People want to see certain types of legislation passed, so they hire people to support them.’ While this process of lobbying can be considered Machiavellian, especially from the way lobbyists are portrayed in the news, the proper term to describe lobbying should be ‘innately human.” Lobbying is innately human because it’s very reasonable for human beings to look for opportunities, ways to make money, ways to extend influence.’ From time to time, lobbyists commit crimes, but there are ways of dealing with those particular situations as seen with the convicting of Jack Abermoff and others.

    People hire lawyers to represent them in a court of law.’ If one really wants, he could represent himself in front of a judge.’ In reality, there is no need for a lawyer.’ However, people still hire them for their knowledge of the law and the proceedings of a court room.’ For a similar reason, people who lead public interest groups need individuals who know the nuances of our government.’ Many individuals today, even those individuals who are actively involved with particular activist groups, see the government is simply divided into its three main branches and different levels of purview at the national, state, and local level.’ They are oblivious to the actual nature of proceedings in the government and need the help of individuals who have worked in the government, individuals who have the ability to speak clearly and effectively, individuals who have already been there, and done that, so to speak.

    Lobbyists are able to provide this service, to keep the people and interest groups in proper view of elected legislators.’ Some may not like government officials being influenced by individual partisan bodies, but these partisan bodies do not speak for themselves, they speak for the public interest groups they represent.’ Rather than representing a group of people by region as elected legislators do, they represent people by a particular issue, making them a powerful asset for interest groups and people across the nation.

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