Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mixed Feelings

I live in the Midwest, and for weeks now we have been hearing about public servants leaving their state in order to slow down the legislative process because of bills the majority party is pushing through.

When I first started hearing the news, I thought the commentary from my facebook friends was interesting. Those with a conservative perspective rumbled right away - "Do your jobs!" "Get back to work." "I'm tired of snow and Democrats." Behind those statements was the fear and/or frustration that the projects they supported would not get approved. Completely understandable.

I guess my less-conservative friends aren't so vocal. I didn't hear as much commentary in support of those who walked out, despite the number of teachers in my social-media circle. But in those early days, I supported those legislators, at least in principle. I believe they were doing what they were hired to do. They represented certain interests in their states and they did that they only way they could in a Republican controlled environment. They left.

I know - few other people can just walk out on their jobs because they don't like the way things are going. But they did get people talking - they did represent their constituents - they did raise awareness.

But I think that moment has passed - awhile ago. The point was made, the attention was garnered. It's time to move on. My support for their principles has been replaced by annoyance. The other side is digging in their heels. They refuse to let the business of the state be held hostage. It's time to get back to work, accept the things you cannot change, and move forward on the things you can.


  1. Jaymie, I can appreciate your viewpoint, but I gotta disagree. What if those fighting to stop child labor had said, "well, that's enough, we got attention, so we'll stop. We don't want to annoy anyone". The same can be said for folks fighting for women's right to vote, civil rights for African Americans, and so on. Did the Democratic legislators do the right thing by leaving? I don't know, but I can't say what they did is any different from a filibuster.

    —Larry Stuart

  2. Jaymie, I agree - mostly - with what you say. But these people were ELECTED to be public SERVANTS, to speak the voice of the people they represent - that is what democracy is about! I got upset a few years ago when the Republicans failed to show up - but it was a 1 day walkout. Nor do I think it is right that those in IL are trying to "bribe" the reps that are still in IN by insisting they change other bills, before they will come back. If there is an issue, they need to be here to EARN their money and start the negotiation process face-to-face. I am getting more disgusted as time goes on. Perhaps we need legislation that states and elected officer of the state relinquishes the job after an extended absence? I dunno, but I am tired of it!
    Penny Price

  3. Ooo! I love dialogue!

    I think the Democrats are in a catch 22. They are representing those who elected them and they are standing up for things they believe (and I believe in some regards) are important. At the same time, they are holding up the agenda that is supported by the party voted into power. The voters of the state spoke.

    I do wonder, though, if everyone who voted for the Republican majority would have also voted for an end to collective bargaining or any of the other hot-button issues....

    Larry - I love a good filibuster. The filibuster episode of The West Wing was my favorite! Such a great (fictional) example of what governing could look like. But in some ways - especially when it is used for issues I don't personally like - it can look like a toddler holding his breath, trying to get his way.

    Politics are complicated. Governing is hard. One person is supposed to represent hundreds or thousands and those folks can't all agree either!Pundits and politicians alike would love for us to believe that issues are black and white - or red and blue. They are seldom that simple. Politically, I am purple. And some of the time, I want to vote in the spirit of Brewster's Millions - None of the Above!