For the third night in a week, I find myself with arriving home with my civil servant hat still on, and it stays on as I monitor the proceedings in the legislature.
I won’t get into the details of the legislation being considered, except to say it’s been contentious and both sides of the House are fillibustering. I’m monitoring somewhat to track what they’re all saying. At this point, however, it’s getting fairly repetitive so I’m following mainly to know where we are in the process.
Most civil servants and media will tell you that monitoring debate in the legislature can be a bit like watching paint dry. Even when you’re invested in the subject matter, even when you have respect for the process and the members, it’s not scintillating most of the time. They get riled up or giddy sometimes, which can be entertaining. But often their voices slip into a drone that I joke would be a good cure for insomnia.
In fact, they did lull me to sleep last night. They were debating until midnight and I was running out of steam. So at 10 p.m., I curled up in bed with the laptop and the cat, and it wasn’t long before I was dozing. Over the next two hours, I woke each time the voice changed, when a new member stood to speak. This morning, I had a good chuckle at myself when I woke saying to the cat, “OK, time to get up, Mr. Speaker.” (The cat’s name is not Mr. Speaker. Not even close.)
Tonight, I’m back at it again. But tonight, I came home not only with my civil servant hat on, but also a plan for something to do while keeping an ear on the debate. Pickling tomatoes. I didn’t get much bounty from my tomato plants, and what I got didn’t have time to ripen. So, into the vinegar they went while the debate raged….well, ok, droned on.
I leave you with this thought. They say there are two things you don’t want to see being made: sausages and legislation. I disagree. Legislation can be slow and plodding, it can take many twists and turns, it may not look the same coming out as it did going in….hence the sausage analogy.
But this is democracy in action, folks. It may not be perfect, but it’s the best we’ve got. And I do believe that everyone involved only wants what’s best for the people they serve. So I’ll take my legislation and pickled tomatoes, thanks very much. And take pride in playing a teeny tiny part in the democtratic process.