Afternoon at the Capitol

30 Mar

I know a lot of people who would rather get a root canal than to talk or get involved with politics but as one of my high school social studies teachers, Chuck repeated often, don’t be a one of those apathetic Americans when it comes to politics. Well, I was one of those apathetic fools for a long time, well until about 17 years ago.

In my humble opinion, we are in a very sad and destructive period of time in politics right now. I think it started in 2000 when the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to select Bush II over Al Gore to become President. The highest court stocked by five conservatives voted 5-4 again a couple years ago allowing a corporation to be treated like an ordinary citizen to be allowed to create a super PAC to create havoc in campaign financing.

The divide is so great between the only two political parties that count, Republicans and Democrats that the late, legend Evil Knievel or his son Bobby (who I met in 89′ on Daytona Beach) could not jump over the gap. It is so sad for so many reasons. I recently tried to be non-partisan when I re-registered to vote (since I moved). I didn’t select either party since it falls in line with my political philosophy, I want to take the best ideas that will solve problems despite who proposes those ideas. Well, I found out when I registered that way, I was unable to vote in the Republican presidential primary. So I re-registered again and selected the Democratic party since some of their ideas align with mine.

In local politics, I found out recently that the superintendent of the school district doesn’t even know how an “elected” school board member can be removed from the board. I found this very sad since we have a mechanism to remove the President of the USA but we can’t remove a school board member. Excuse me?

For the past six months, during my prolonged unemployed status I have been attempting to brush up on the “issues” but just by experience with being unemployed, I have run into some discouraging systems and policies which could be modified if a politician or two were involved. However, the only problem with that, our “elected” officials are untouchable. I recently called the White House about information about Obama’s recent visit to the great state of Oklahoma and it has been 10 “business” days now and no return call. The visit was 3/23. I left a message for a state representative over two weeks ago and no response.

So I took it to the next level and invaded our state Capitol in OKC on 3/27. I was across the street anyway taking a test for another state job I won’t get but I said what the heck, I am going to drop in on a representative or two. As entered the Capitol building, I went thru security which the last time I visited didn’t have. I noticed right away how warm it was inside. There was no directory on how to find anything. There was a sign giving the directions in case of an emergency. As I strolled around the floor I was on (not sure what floor that was), I looked for the public elevator since I had mapped out that the representatives were mainly  housed in the 5th floor from my prior internet search. I noticed large paintings and some artifacts, but I wasn’t there for the art. I was there for some answers (maybe)!

I finally found the elevator and went up to the 5th floor. As I walked down the hall of the representatives, very young people were coming in and out of very small offices. I actually thought I was walking down the halls of a high school. I must be getting older (even though I still think I am 18). I came to the desk of Stacy, the woman I spoke to on the phone about seven days earlier when  she told me that “someone” would get back to me to answer my questions. Well, I introduced myself to Stacy in person and informed her I wanted to talk to “someone”. She seemed flustered at the request but then walked me down another hall searching desperately for “someone” to talk to me.

At the end of the hall, she passed me off to another woman and left (fast). This woman (I am sorry I forgot her name) but she isn’t a representative wanted to know how she could help (if possible). Since I wasn’t going to talk to a rep., I settled on “her”. As I started my long list of questions, she listened as she was munching on Cheetos. She apologized for eating but “it was her lunch”. She took a phone call or two while I tried to talk and then two blonde women approached her and wanted to see her boss (because they knew him). The woman I was talking to told them that he was in an energy committee meeting until 3 pm (it was now 1:30 pm). They said that they would “wait around” by the committee room to catch him. That is how it works, I found out, it is like fishing, you put your bait out there and just wait and wait and wait.

After the interruption, I started talking again and she started munching again. Another phone call and another “high school senior” guy poked in and asked if he could help me. I answered, well you will have to ask her (but she was on the phone). He couldn’t wait and left. She got off the phone and excused herself again as she checked her email and made a phone call instructing “someone” to write a press release “on something” and get it out right away. Back to me, I kindly said, how about you direct me to “someone” else since you are obviously very busy. She said ok and walked me to another office. She dropped me off with Marsha, a black woman who seemed perturbed but somewhat approachable.

I was instructed to have “another” seat and to wait…IT was finally my turn, I was going to meet a representative. Oops, then a very attractive woman was dropping off some leaflets and “my” rep. had to chit chat with her. Finally, again, Mr. Scott had time for ME. Yipee. Finally! Mr. Scott looked like a college freshman and I followed him into his cluttered office. I re-introduced myself again since he forgot my name after talking to Ms. Leaflet (she was hot). Then we got down to it. I told him how my ex-gf of 8 yrs was now not allowing me to see my 9 year old daughter. She is not my step/adoptive/bio daughter but I am all she knows in the daddy department. Mr. Scott looked perplexed and stressed and then he said I should talk to “someone” else on the 3rd floor but thanked me for coming in and to “stay in touch”.

I dashed down two flights of stairs and headed into the “bullpen” (I think Marsha called it that). I introduced myself to another woman (didn’t get her name either) and I took a seat again. Then, Mr. Rousselot (I am sorry, I can’t pronounce it, I think it is French) invited me into his office where I met Larry (never did get his last name as I recall) as well. I reported my story for the third time but this time got some real attention. They agreed to my request that they would think about my idea for a bill to give some rights (at least visitation) to “non” (legally speaking) -dads. Larry said in his 8 yrs as a rep., I was the first dad to bring up this issue. He said most dads who break up with the moms, don’t want anything to do with “her” kids after the break up. He said I was different. Yes, I am and I am damn proud of it.

I shook their hands and thanked them profusely and left the capitol feeling good about what I think I accomplished. I implore you, get involved in politics. We need to take back this country from the “elected” officials and the 1% who fund those officials. We owe it to ourselves, our kids, our communities, and our great country.

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