Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Democracy in Action

There's always an air of excitment when I go to our state capitol, Olympia, to cover a story. Sure I moan and groan at the long drive, at sitting hunched over in the newscar to write, and at hanging my head out the window to record so it doesn't sound tinny. I don't like doing my news voice in public, its embarrassing, so I have to wait until people walk by.

Whenever I'm in the Capitol, I marvel at the beautiful buildings, and people in suits rushing to create our laws and control our budget. I love that everyday citizens are walking inside the buildings, protesting and standing up for what they believe in. I love that they rally on the front steps, waving signs and cheering. And I love that lawmakers listen, and if the people are lucky, write the laws accordingly. Democracy sure is an amazing thing that I'm very thankful for.

I interviewed a man today who's living with HIV. He's a young man, probably his late thirties, and looked to be Native American. His eyes are bright, and he smiled a lot while talking to me. His medications cost $1,600 per day, and he depends on state funding and programs to stay alive. The state is considering cutting these programs due to deep budget cuts. Yesterday I interviewed former drug and alcohol addicts, people who've been shot, stabbed, burglarized homes, stolen cars. State programs helped these people get back on their feet, and they regarded me shyly, but happily.

Our government does so much for so many people, that I hope budget cuts don't leave thousands in the dark. I'm happy to tell their stories through the radio, to put a face to the dollars. I'm just glad they have the opportunity to speak with, and perhaps influence lawmakers. That's democracy in action.


Dan-Eric Slocum said...

I don't want to come across as a "prophet of doom"-- but it's about to get bleak.

I know. "Zip it, Debbie Downer."

Paula said...

Maybe some day there would be a way to combine your writing skills with the excitement of the political arena.

Paula said...

PS - I think those of us in the business sector are struggling mightily just as those who are down and out. The economy seems to have no winners other than Walmart. We're all fighting for survival, all need help. If the government could weed out funds given to ineffective programs (and giant banks), they'd probably sniff out more money for those who really need it, as those you describe. Amazing that right after we gave a ton of money to the auto industry, they're already back asking for more, without having rectified the system that caused the problem. Everybody wants a piece of the pie, some wanting so much they eclipse everyone else.