by jhwygirl

I commiserate with Matt when he says “I needed some good news today” – which, incidentally, is a post about good news in an area overseen by one of the few on my very short list of bright lights in elected officials – Denise Juneau.

That would be elected officials. My list for bright lights amongst Democratic party elected officials makes that list even smaller. Ms. Juneau, obviously, makes both.

Healthcare? Finance reform? MASS failure?

I find myself wondering whether we are electing people to merely get re-elected, or are we electing people to go to Washington or Helena to get something done?

Domestic policy is tough to do – it’s why Republicans tend to try and avoid it as much as possible. War and outside distractions are always good to ensure a lopsided balance of focus, and that’s why we see that kind of stuff more frequently with certain parties. IMNSHO, of course.

People pay attention to domestic issues. Change is hard. It’s scary. Someone’s gonna get pissed off. Lobbyists and corporate interests prey on that kind of stuff. Legislative Paralysis, though, appears to be the norm. Failure to act because someone’s going to get mad is the “action” we appear to be getting.

Inaction has apparently become the option of choice.

I don’t care at what level of government you’re looking at – even Ravalli County officials are being called out on it’s reactionary decisions based on emotions more than fact.

Whatever happened to doing what’s right?

At the state level – and I’ve been working my way through the last state legislative Water Policy Committee meeting – Jim Rokosch (a Ravalli County Commissioner, incidentally) tells state legislators that (paraphrased) ‘you can not delay action (on exempt wells) merely because it’s complicated or controversial. You were elected to do a job and you need to protect property rights and public health and safety.’

Amen, Mr. Rokosch.

Mr. Rokosch was referring to the numerous times the legislature (and the state DNRC and DEQ) have attempting to address the myriad issues surrounding exempt wells, failing to do anything due to both the vocal outpouring by a minority like the Montana Building Industry Association and the complexity of the issue.

Then there’s Washington D.C. You’d have to have a full-time job lately to follow national stuff. Healthcare? Finance reform? Good Goddess, that stuff changes by the minute.

Montana election season is open. We got our lone congressional seat to get excited about (and I’m all about grassroots hardworking supersmart intelligent I-see-him-everywhere Tyler Gernant.) We have the state house legislative races – and not only will local races be important, plenty of seats statewide will deserve statewide support from progressives everywhere – along with a handful of state senate races that will deserve the same statewide attention.

I see Montana going into special session to address the budget situation. It doesn’t look like we’ll be gaining any jobs until sometime in 2011. Revenues are dropping, and there’s yet a complete analysis of the effects of the closing of Smurfit. Frankly, the repercussions on that have yet to begun, yet alone receive any fiscal analysis. When we go into that special session – in the middle of an election run – we’ll see where the real legislative workhorses are. Weeding out the slack should be easy with such a backdrop.

I’m not wishing on a special session…but ignoring the reality is, in some way, the product of the Legislative Paralysis that became the approved budget that has us here now. Keep in mind, that budget was knocked out by joint conference committee in the last days of the session. Some might view that as inexcusable, considering the only constitutionally mandated job that is required of the legislature is to get the budge approved within 90 days.

I’m going to try and get excited about election season..but Democrats? Elected Democrats? You gotta help me out.

I almost retitled this post Legislative Paralysis, but I see I’ve come full-circle, back to “Meh”….so “Meh” it is.

  1. problembear

    when i (rarely) curb my enthusiasms and abandon my feelings of anger and just try to use logic, in retrospect perhaps expectations for our leaders were not grounded in reality- given that the nation is in all likelihood caught in the throes of a sort of post-bush hysteria. this too shall pass. but having no patience, i set my hopes a little too high too fast for one stinking year. to enumerate:

    i had hoped that everyone with any sense would agree to enact legislation that;

    1. we need to close or at least severely regulate payday and title loan lenders in montana who charge 670% interest- so far a complete failure.

    2. ensure that affordable and reliiable health care is available to everyone without bankrupting us.- so far complete failure (since last july)

    3. bring our troops home from afghanistan and iraq and redouble our security here at home. – so far failure on both.

    4. regulate banks to make sure they don’t screw us all again. – bound for failure.

    5. politicians would put down their petty personal interests such as getting reelected to do what is right for the working people of this country.- never gonna happen in our lifetimes.

    then again, i remember my studies in geology and remember that it has only been one year and just like geologic processes politics often moves at a glacial pace. so far, the historical trajectory remains positive. we always progress toward more fairness and more justice and more goodness in the long run. and in my brief historical analysis i find that most presidential progressive policies are enacted during the second term, not the first term.

    so i am decided on this. i will settle down and relax and take some of the angst out of my expectations by giving them more time. try to use logic and my new mantra will be all in due time. after all, no matter how stinking mad the regressives and the ultra right can make me, there is one unmistakeable truth- the curve of history does not favor their goals. it favors ours. so take heart and try to relax.
    all in good time. the only thing that works is endless pressure endlessly applied. we are water. they are stone.

  2. problembear

    when water’s path is temporarily blocked it goes around or it wears away the obstruction. take heart.

  3. Lizard

    today the law of our land ensured our political process will become nothing more than a media-hyped showdown between coke or pepsi.

    personally i’m delighted democrats got backhanded by massachusetts voters, and here’s why: 1. i believe the health care bill should die, and 2. i believe there’s still enough time (3 years) to scare the party of neoliberal deregulation and humanitarian occupation into returning to the people they abandoned.

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