March 2011 LD22 Town Hall Meeting

Thurston County LD 22 Townhall at Garfield Elementary in Olympia, Saturday 12 March 2011
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Washington State Legislators: Representatives Sam Hunt and Chris Reykdahl, and Senator Karen Fraser, met for over two hours with constitituents from Washington State LD 22 at Garfield Elementary School on Saturday the 12th of March 2011.

Many people amongst the 150 or so in the audience rose to speak. People were given open mic, first come first served, for two minutes each.

Many concerns were raised, reflecting the widespread feeling that something is wrong.

Some of the statements ranged from encouraging the legislators to take a more assertive and vigorous stance against harmful federal policies like imperialism, and against the political/economic power of Wall Street; to protecting public interest; to protecting the right of labor unions to collective bargaining; to recommendations of a state income tax; to comments about capitol lake and estuary restoration.


Town Hall meetings

  How do we connect with one another? Over coffee?  At a monlthly meeting of our organization?  Not enough time to sit and talk with each other about what's important. And yet, how do we plan our votes, our support, our protests of policies enacted by our government in our name. Either state or federal? Or even local?  How do we know what we want individually or collectively if we don't talk or listen to one another?  The answer is, we don't.  But as Berd says in the story of the town hall, "Many concerns were raised, reflecting the widespread feeling that something is wrong."

  There is a wide spread malaise amongst us all these days that there are many decisions being made wrong, poorly or not at all.  Everything from financial to foreign policy to health to education to bargaining rights to environmental to .....well, you get the picture.  It's as if there were a right way and a wrong way and the decisions are always falling on the side of the wrong way.

  How about policies that place people first over corporations? The environment first over corporations? Helping people in other countries vs. invading and occupying (for the corporations)?  Money for homes, education, health issues rather than for killing more people (and yet enough money for the corporations)?

  There are many people who feel there is something wrong even if they can't put their finger on the "it".  That's because there are too many "its".  What's wrong is that people have given up their power to those governing for so long they have forgotten how to have things go their way. Look what we are seeing now world-wide:  Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Wisconsin.  People coming together to stand up for what's good for them collectively, not just for the dictator or the prince or the president or the governor.......or the corporations.

   And the only way to discover what we all have in common is to talk and listen to one another.  It's nice to have representatives put on a town hall, but the issues are so varied and their power so limited that I doubt it is much more than a feel-good moment. Regular town hall meetings have been on my agenda for the past 10 years. I even tried to make them happen with 3 years of monthly PEACE TALKS at Traditions Fair Trade. I realized I was wasting my time when only 3 or 4 people out of potential 30,000 would show up.  So I question if people actually want any changes of if they are so used to just complaining that they are satisfied with that?

  Maybe there is a change in the wind?  Will it take someone here lighting themself on fire to put a fire under the rest of the people?  I hope not.


The Fourth Pillar

I hear you tezzer. It seems that a major problem these days is a mainstream media structure that is pretty much wholly bought into a notion of success, a notion of the American Dream, that is based on comparison and hierarchy.

In a society where success is based on materialism, and comparitive material wealth, and where people seem to be willing to justify the means of climbing ladders and stepping on the heads of those below, based on the ends of getting to the top, then it seems that violence and war will be ongoing symptoms.

How about redefining success in terms of service: service of public interests, and working for mutual benefit—toward the collective uplift and empowerment of all people.

Rather than striving for control, and the maintenance of hierarchical structures where some wield power over others...another world is possible: a world of peace, stability, and mutual prosperity, healthy relationships and communities.