Sunday, February 8, 2009

Why I couldn't vote for "Civility"

Last Friday, I found myself the ONLY Senator who voted against HJR09-1004, the Civility Resolution., a Resolution that has been run annually since 2006. The House voted on this earlier in the session, February 3rd. I was the only one in either the House or Senate who refused to vote for what I considered a senseless Joint Resolution.
Before the Senate vote, I rose and spoke (the only Republican as I recall). Several Democrats gushed over how wonderful it was.
My reasons:
While I mentioned that my perception has been that over the past several decades I have observed that society has become more harsh and less tolerant of one another, yet in my nine years in the legislature (six in the House and three in the Senate, I have not noticed any pervasive or growing lack of civility in either of those bodies. Yes...while there has been an occasional outburst by one member or another, it has usually been followed promptly by an apology at the mic.
During my brief comments made at the Well, I mentioned that in all my nine sessions in the legislature, I have been witness to very few occasions of lack of civility...certainly not enough to require a Resolution to bring this to our attention. I mentioned that in the current legislature, I was
  • perhaps the only person who has been screamed at on the floor of the House by the Speaker of his own party, primarily because I wasn't a "team player on a particular bill."
  • perhaps the only legislator who has been cussed at, "you gd s.o.b. racist" by a black member of the opposite party who falsely interpreted my views on illegal immigration as being racist.
Yet...while I don't condone such outbursts and lack of civility and respect, I do forgive those legislators who occasionally "lose it." because the pressures sometimes become so great that emotions can temporarily overcome reason and decorum.
Since, it is my belief that man is basically sinful, (an idea held by our founding fathers, but often disparaged today) I realize that there are times one will occasionally "go off." Hopefully, my religious underpinnings will not allow me to respond in kind.
That said...such Resolutions have virtually no real value except to make one feel good.