This is the last week of the legislative session in Missouri. Like all the other years, I am getting a barrage of email begging me to contact my Senators and Representatives to inform them that they might make some dreadful mistakes by voting for bad laws.
This is fatiguing on all of us because we elected them to do the right thing. It is hard to help someone get into an office and then feel let down by their voting records. It hurts to hear, “I told you so”, even if those words are coming from inside our hearts.
Some of our legislators won their elections without our support. In those cases, we would have more reasons to be cynical about the odds of their heeding our wisdom or feeling like we can influence them.
The emotional roller coaster can be draining, but let me comfort you with some thoughts.
1.) These decisions on what will pass and what will not pass are largely pre-calculated. It is healthy to have positive interaction with your elected officials, but please protect yourself from becoming worn out or depressed. I understand how easy it can be to become overwhelmed by the end-of-session shenanigans. Just knowing that it’s not totally up to you might offer some comfort.
2.) Campaign donations drive the agenda. If there is little opportunity to convert an issue into campaign funding, it will be hard for the bill to survive. There are some legislators who vote for altruistic reasons, but not enough to make a majority.
This is a photo of a constituent from Independence, Missouri. Shortly after winning the election, the representative quit, leaving a vacancy. The Missouri law says the Governor has to call a special election, but it doesn’t specify any time frame. Therefore, the Governor could wait for years to call for the special election, when it would be a moot point.
As bad as things are in state government, the National Government is in the same syndrome. The lobbyists with the most money believe they bought those seats and they want to get their money’s worth out of all those campaign donations.
Here is a screen shot from the Twitter account of Rep. Justin Amash, a U. S. Representative from Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was discussing his thoughts with Rob Engstrom, national political director for the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, who is pushing corporate welfare:
WHAT YOU CAN DO…
We can all do something.
1.) We can pray. At this time of year, there are a myriad of ways bills can suddenly die, or suddenly come to life. The legislators usually act out of self interest. Bills can be “held hostage” for reasons completely unrelated and impossible to understand.
This is the time of year when even those in leadership appear to be confused about what they will do next. Sometimes that’s just to add to the “theater” and other times, they are waiting until the other chamber or the executive branch makes them a deal.
Please call your elected officials if you want to weigh in, but don’t get discouraged if we lose yardage in the end. Establishing dialogue is always beneficial.
2.) We can get active in the next election cycle. It’s a lot easier to get good people elected than to try to change the mind of a legislator who is not interested in voting in a Constitutional manner.
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A Little Bit of Humor…