Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lobbying in Sacramento – HR 5 Passes

CA Capitol
I’m back.  We’re back.  I took a lobbying trip up to Sacramento with my blogging buddy, Beetle.  The drive was lengthy, but the company was the best.  My boys made some best friends out of Beetle’s kiddos, and Beetle and I got to yakkity yak for the duration of our loooooong round trip. :0)

So, the 17th dawned cold and rainy.  No one was positioned outside the capitol building, No or Yes.  The Assembly Judiciary Committee room filled up quickly and flowed over into a balcony room which also filled to the hilt.  We were in the third, yes third, overflow area located in the cafe: 90% Equality Network America, 10% Prop 8 supporters.  We watched the entire proceeding on a television.

I wish I had good news to report, but, not surprisingly, it’s just more of the same.  As I watched gay “marriage” supporters approach the mic and listened to their heart-wrenching pleadings in support of HR 5, my stomach was turned by the extreme emotionality of it all.  Story after story surfaced about love this and love that.  And then came the Prop 8 supporters, and the appeals were for our legislators to respect the vote of the people…the people they represent.

90% emotionality
10% democracy

Also not surprising was the fact that the HR 5 supporters, advocates of gay “marriage,” had to be chastised on three separate occasions for their disrespect during opponents’ testimonials.  Too much snorting and snickering throughout.  When one woman introduced herself as a mother of eight, our overflow area erupted rudely with all-out, mocking laughter.  I was perturbed by the lack of respect.  And, in the end, it was clear that while the legislators were adamant about maintaining a respectful atmosphere during the proceedings, they didn’t actually care one whit about democracy.  As was predictable, their vote followed precisely along party lines and the resolution passed with flying colors (pun intended).

Pearl’s summary:

I loved meeting Beetle’s family; they are awesome.  I enjoyed being present for a process I’ve never witnessed.  And I just want to remind everyone that our government is not in the business of governing based on what’s “fair” (or it didn’t used to be, anyway).  In fact, I’m 99.99999% certain that the word “love” is not present anywhere in our Constitution.  What it absolutely is built on is democracy, and yesterday democracy was categorically ignored…again.  Bummer.  Big bummer for our state.

~Pearl

P.S. The senate hearing was cancelled due to ongoing and pressing budget discussions.  Having just arrived home, I have not had a chance to research whether that has occurred or not.  Though I can imagine that the results will be similar, if not identical, I would like to hear nonetheless.  If you have any updated info, please post it in the comments section!

7 comments:

Liberty Belle said...

Well, they skunked us this time didn't they? I'm glad I went though.

Euripides said...

I'm glad you all could make it to the Assembly. I don't know if the lack of respect came as a surprise to you. It certainly doesn't surprise me. The gay community has completely tipped the scale of respect - demanding it from everyone else, but rejecting it in their views of everyone else. They've become an entire class of Al Sharptons.

Troy said...

I'm amazed that neither Beetle nor Pearl was surprised to find that the other was a 45 year old balding fat guy. I thought everyone but me was.
On a more serious note, I think organized rides would go a long way toward better participation and better collaboration. Beetle mentioned having a "gorilla's handbook" to look at the pros and cons of different arguments. I think that would be good as well. Really the flaw in the argument of being overwritten by the tyrannical majority is that folks in the minority CHOOSE to be in the minority. If homosexuals couldn't choose how to live their life (like black people can't choose the color of their skin), it might be convincing but choosing to be in a minority and then complaining about the consequences of being in that minority (which have always been the same as far as I can tell) is not very convincing to me.

Secular Heretic said...

Thanks for the write up Pearl, I wish I could have been there. I hope your government does not reject the vote of the people. It would be a real insult to the concept that the government is there to serve the people.

If yes on Proposition 8 is overturned perhaps Obama's election victory can also be overturned.

LHohyeah said...

Your experience reminds me of the times I have attended school board and city council meetings. Law requires that the public be allowed to attend and comment, but it was painfully obvious that our elected officials had already made up their minds and were not listening to a word that was said. I dont' know that the solution is, but I also DO know that we can't give up!

Rita said...

Democracy is about the majority rules. If my civics lessons serve me a Republic is about rights- we live in a republic. The GS alliance has taken the argument to an arena that must be addressed in terms of inalienable rights. I have seen bits and pieces of comments that address this angle- lawyer speak is probably needed here.

Michael Ejercito said...

Democracy is about the majority rules.
The California constitution does place restraints on majority power. Courts can rule on whether or not a statute passed by a majority of legislators or a majority of voters violates the state constitution.

Of course, the majority can amend the constitution. The judiciary is independent of the executive and legislative branches; they are not independent of the constitution.