Baran. I didn't see eye to eye with a lot of what she has said or done, but she said some very interesting things with which I could go along and envision. I am not a legislative expert by any stretch of the imagination. I can read a piece of proposed legislation and I listened, well enough, in social studies to understand the basics of how things work. But I was really unsure when Ms. Baran stated that "Initiatives" were probably the way to go, in her argument, to open records. I had to find out what initiative meant in that sense. I knew the basic meaning, but not the meaning as it applied to legal and government matters. So I went to the online dictionary and found;
in·i·ti·a·tive /ɪˈnɪʃiətɪv, ɪˈnɪʃə-/ Show Spelled[ih-nish-ee-uh-tiv, ih-nish-uh-] –noun
1. an introductory act or step; leading action: to take the initiative in making friends.
2. readiness and ability in initiating action; enterprise: to lack initiative.
3. one's personal, responsible decision: to act on one's own initiative.
4. Government .
a. a procedure by which a specified number of voters may propose a statute, constitutional amendment, or ordinance, and compel a popular vote on its adoption. Compare referendum ( def. 1 ) .
b. the general right or ability to present a new bill or measure, as in a legislature.
Okie-Dokie, said she. That is about a clear as mud. If I am right, then that means if enough people want something to happen, they can propose a bill or other way to produce a vote on the subject. If that is true, then anyone of us, any group, can propose all they wish. Therefore, if that is true, then why all the convoluted bills about open records? Why can't anyone say, "We want a simple statute that allows opening of sealed birth certificates and adoption records? Let's take a vote."
Wrong! How many is a "specified number?" Do you have to have a petition? How do we make that proposal? Do we need legal representation or a legislative advisor? And how is said amendment, statute, ordinance, etc., to be worded so that said legislators remain in office and lobbyists retain their livlihood and the right palms are greased and no one's feeling are hurt? Since when did living in a democracy mean that we had to please everyone? My God, you'd think the entire country was nothing but natural mothers and adopted people because most of us are the biggest people pleasers around.
After looking at this whole melange, I am seeing why the bills are getting dirtier and dirtier and the concessions are getting smaller and smaller. I can also see how our Constitution is becoming a crazy quilt, riddled with contradictions and heavy with pork fat. And I can see why those that are fighting for a clean, equitable open records bill are getting frustrated and discouraged. I know the feeling. We are also fighting a battle for the mothers of the EMS from the ground up and we are still pretty much at sea level.
Yesterday, I published a post about educating the general public. I got quite a few private comments in the nature of "Yeah? Good Luck With THAT." There are a lot of weary, cynical, dispirited warriors in this particular arena. I know that one of my dearest and oldest friends and I are very much in disagreement on this subject. She didn't just drink the Kool Aid. She likes it. What can you do when even someone who likes you cannot grasp what you tell them?
My friend, Bastardette, has commented about how sentimentalism and emotionalism won't get the job done and I am pretty sure she has a very valid point. But the subject matter is so emotional, so heart-felt by those who have suffered from it, that doing it with cold, hard facts is going to be like trying to paint a picture with dust. I wish I had an answer. I wish that I wasn't getting older so fast that I see the end of my activism just up the road.
I just wonder, if we got all the industry and governmental razzle-dazzle out of the picture and just showed the raw, unvarnished and painful truth, if it would do any good? Right now, I feel like all I am doing is spitting in the ocean and expecting the level to rise.