Week 15 Legislative Report, 64th
We should be down to about two weeks left by the time you read this. I am up eight pounds since session started, partly because of the forced sitting, partly because there are a lot of treats around. Mostly because I tend to eat things in amounts I should not. Welcome to the land of plenty for many. It was gratifying to see a couple of classes from MayPort CG and Hatton today (Tuesday) with another group coming on Thursday. Having squired trips to the legislature for thirty years or so, I found that it was one experience many thought worthwhile even years later. Another valuable and easier trip was taking my students to district court in Hillsboro. Both are experiences that provide a real introduction into what one receives for their tax dollars, not to mention how government works. With declining voting rates, it seems important to our democracy that people learn and appreciate what is going on.
One observation about government is that when people get involved because they are unhappy about something, they learn a lot about what goes into making public policy and gain an understanding that makes it easier to either bring about change or at least see how we got to this point. Another way to say this is that people often complain about taxes or politicians but that their level of unhappiness tends to dissipate upon meeting those in office or being told what would have to be cut if their taxes were pared back. Or not. We take a lot for granted in our lives and I believe that most stay uninvolved in following politics because our country and state tend to work pretty well. Of course, many of you reading this care enough to do so because you do not fall into that category of folks – you are most likely active in your community affairs. Involvement not only qualifies you to more accurately judge the current state of affairs, but to a greater degree effect the changes you believe are needed. Thank you for caring. I often told my students that silence is acquiescence – that no knowledge or political activity on one’s part tells others that the status quo is fine and that such behavior is what a king or dictator loves. A healthy democracy requires that we all care and translate that into a vote. Another reason for someone not participating is that it is a lot easier to sit by and let others do our work, but the most deadly to our type of government is when people do not believe their vote matters. Does helplessness stem from hopelessness? I need to take a walk.