I gave my farewell speech. I’ve been feted and roasted.
But the legislative session is still droning on. We are working long hours, trying to drag this baby across the finish line.
I won’t be a free woman until we make the motion to “sine die.”
We were in legislative session until … I’m not sure, but I think it was around 10:30 pm last night.
When I got home, I couldn’t sleep.
My husband had followed the session for most of the day, texting me a hilarious running commentary. We’ve done that for years. He listens to us and our squabbles and texts me comments about what’s going on that keep me both entertained and sane.
We spent quite a while re-hashing the day’s events after I got home. Then, I stayed up alone, saying my prayers and unwinding. I was so tired that I kept falling asleep while I was praying.
Mama got me up several times during the night because she was afraid that she’d be late for her “job” at the adult day care center. She usually starts this around 4 am. I gave up about 4:30 and got up.
We had several hard votes yesterday. We passed legislation that will harm the people of Oklahoma for generations to come.
There will be more of the same today. And tomorrow. And the day after.
With any luck, we will adjourn this wagon train on Friday. That is not certain. Not by a long shot. I have seen legislative sessions go right down to the day we planned to adjourn, right down to the last piece of legislation, and then get hung up and have to go on for another couple of weeks.
Nothing in legislating is certain until it’s done, and sometimes not even then.
Yesterday was a hard day, and the next three days will be hard, as well. One upcoming vote in particular has me questioning what is the least wrong thing to do.
If things go reasonably close to predictions, it will be a matter of getting through today, then tomorrow and then Friday. We may be in session until quite late Friday, but there is hope that we’ll adjourn.
I got a ripping headache yesterday during the discussion on one bill. My left temple is still tender to the touch because of that headache, so I guess it was a migraine.
I disagree with the legislation in question. But the thing that triggered the headache — and it was one of those ka-pow! type headaches that hit like a hammer falling — was the bald-faced lying by one legislator. Back in the day, if a legislator deliberately lied to the body on the floor of the House, that legislator would never pass another bill.
In today’s world, this legislator has lied repeatedly about big issues on the floor of the House and no one cares. The legislator in question isn’t even embarrassed that everyone listening knows that they are lying. I’m talking about lies as obvious as someone standing in a tub of water and looking you right in the eye and saying, “So far as I know, my feet aren’t wet.”
These weren’t lies about catching a really big fish or how popular you were in high school. They weren’t braggadocio or a weak moment of trying to hide a private humiliation from public view.
They were lies based on other lies that were broken promises given to the entire House as well as the people of Oklahoma that have to do with legislation that will impact many people for generations to come. They were arrogant, on-the-mike, in-public, I-don’t-care-if-everybody-knows-I’m-lying-lies that were told to a trusting public as well as legislative colleagues.
This same legislator had already broken their word on this very piece of legislation with a so-what? attitude. The whole point to them seemed to be that anyone stupid enough to believe them was a fool and deserved what they got. In the course of the discussion, this same person gave other assurances as to what would happen in the future.
And the security and hopes of many thousands of people hang on this. On these lies. On the word of this legislator who evidently just says things so that people will believe them so that they can do something else.
I’m old-school about this sort of thing. I believe that a person’s word is their bond. In my book (to use a phrase from my Daddy) if a person’s word doesn’t mean anything, then the person isn’t worth listening to. I grew up in a world where cattlemen at the Oklahoma National Stockyards would close million-dollar deals on a handshake and that deal was done.
It’s difficult for me to accept that people entrusted with the governance of millions of their fellow Oklahomans would take their word so lightly. That is dishonorable. Reprehensible.
So, I got a headache. And I had to leave the floor for a while to keep from picking up a mike and saying things that I would regret. And the headache stayed with me all day and left me with an achy head that could fire off into another Ka-pow! at any time.
And now I have to go to confession, just like I always have to go to confession after one of these shut-down weeks.
Because of my temper.
Because of my bad language.
Because of my lack of charity.
Because of the unkind things I’ve said and because of my grudges over the unkind things that were said to me.
Because of the votes that I have no idea if I did the mostly right thing or the mostly wrong thing, but I’m pretty sure that no matter what I did, it was the mostly wrong thing because there wasn’t a mostly right thing I could have done.
Because I feel like I’ve been slimed from head to foot.
I got up this morning and had a talk with myself. I am the shortest of short timers in this outfit. My story as a legislator is all but told. All I need to do — all I should do at this point — is what I always do. I should vote my conscience. The only other thing — and this is different — is put my foot down and slide.
Adjournment is coming.
And serious work in a new arena awaits me on the other side of it.
Go day. Come day. Lord bring Friday.