April 5, 2013
Dear American Legislator:
Can we talk? Just you and me, voter to representative. I’ve got a couple things on my mind and this brief time between campaigns is the only chance we get to be real with each other.
(Yes, I know Hillary is already raising money; just ignore that – the electorate is sure trying to.)
I had a moment a couple of weeks ago when the Senate voted to not cut Social Security that nearly caused me to split in half with exhausted joy and piercing anger. While I am certainly glad to hear the proclamation that the meager existence managed by many seniors and citizens with disabilities will not be infringed upon, I realized I was happy that my elected officials had voted to do nothing.
I was relieved about an inaction. That the Senate promised not to do a thing was good news.
If you’ll allow me to be blunt (we’re both adults, right?) – shit is messed up around here! People are working four jobs (or none at all), are still unable to afford healthcare, are walking around crushed under the burden of student and/or predatory loan debt and are facing the closure of their children’s schools. There is work to be done, folks!
So, with all that needs your attention – and I didn’t even mention the Exxon disaster in Arkansas and the Koch brothers owned paper towels they’re using to “clean” it up – how could I possibly be relieved that my country’s legislators were agreeing en mass not to act? And by voice vote, no less!
Four reasons: North Dakota, Kansas, Chicago and Indiana.
Action, as of late, seems to be moving municipalities in the wrong direction – and at an alarming rate. While there are a wealth of issues that concern me, I am fixated on two off-year areas currently garnering much of the attention of our state and national legislatures: education and women’s health.
First, the women.
As news travels fast, I’m sure you’ve heard about the North Dakota law seeking to dangerously reduce the quality of doctors at their one abortion clinic. This faux “carin’ about the women” bill requires doctors at the clinic to have admitting privileges at an area hospital. Now, the word “CLINIC” should have been the first clue that this isn’t necessary. What makes it impossible is that doctors who do not admit a certain number of patients annually do not qualify for privileges. Therefore, to qualify, the clinic’s abortion doctors would have to be the worst ever to do their jobs, admitting a dangerous number of patients post-procedure every year.
This is an insane waste of time that makes me wish the legislature had simply taken a vacation. And that’s just the bill introducing, debating and passing time-a-wastin’. This law is going to be immediately challenged in court, clogging up the state’s legal infrastructure at the taxpayers’ expense.
Waste, waste, waste.
From Robin Marty:
“As if 70 pages of anti-choice, anti-science regulations wasn’t enough, the Kansas legislature is now working to ban abortions at the point when an embryonic heartbeat can be detected. As such, Kansas’ 2013 legislative session is set to contend with North Dakota as the worst in the nation when it comes to abortion rights.”
Kansas wants women to schedule the termination of a pregnancy before most realize that they’re pregnant. Go read the back of a home test to see when accuracy can be guaranteed and tell me if a six-week ban makes any rational sense. (We already know it makes no Constitutional sense.)
That, dear Sir or Madam, brings us to Chicago where Rahm is on a rampage. At the latest count, 61 schools are set to close – and you’ll never guess which neighborhoods are disproportionately affected. Yeah, those neighborhoods. The ones where people have to work too many jobs to get out and fund raise for you, where daily concerns trump political ones and where you can ignore what you don’t see.
Dedicated students, parents and Chicago Teachers Union officials, like Kenzo Shibata, are demonstrating, flooding public meetings and mobilizing the neighborhoods around the endangered schools through action and, appropriately, education on the impact closures have on entire communities.
The whole thing makes me wish the mayor and his entirely unelected, CEO-filled school board weren’t such a workaholics.
Indiana has a similarly hard-working legislature under the leadership of Governor Mike “defund Planned Parenthood” Pence. The state senate is pushing a budget that would pull $150 million out of the state coffers through an income tax reduction. The average tax payer would save a whole $25.00 annually. This savings would lead – despite some token cash set aside for expanding the state’s highways – to the decimation the true infrastructure in the state: public education.
The lone voice of reason, Sen. Lindel Hume (D-Princeton) argued that people in the $50,000 income bracket aren’t going to notice the $1.00/week increase in their paychecks.
From the Evansville Courier & Press:
“It’s just wrong for us to do that. Most of the people in this state could care less about that dollar a week, and we seriously need that money to fund this state,” Hume said.
He said Indiana should instead pump that money into public schools – “where we have over the last few years reduced the funding for education and then we criticize the schools, and it’s a constant need.”
Exactly. Legislators pull funding from necessary institutions and then complain (rather than act) when said institutions don’t perform as expected. When the only tool you use is a pair of scissors, it’s no wonder I get nervous when you get motivated.
I end my lengthy letter with a heartfelt plea: restore my rooting interest in your day-to-day work in the office I’ve elected you to. Please, do something – just make it something real. Do a thing that helps somebody – a veteran, a student, an unemployed constituent – and make me glad to see that you introduced or voted on (or hell, even passed!) a piece of legislation. Stop with the nonsense, backward idiocy and face forward. Get some work done and leave a legacy you can be proud of.
Katie Klabusich, voter
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Categories: Finding My Voice