Saturday, April 23, 2005

Last Class Today

Last class for the Spring Semester. We brought the two classes together and heard a panel consisting of a Democratic senator, a Republican senator, a child advocate and an elder abuse advocate.

What was interesting was the insistence by the two senators that senators really like each other, and that the process is truly much more collegial and democratic than the press portrays. Of course, they admitted that they would often support their party, check their friendships at the door, and then after the session go and have coffee. This was in marked contrast to the election process, which to me, is bitter, rankorous, extremely negative, and highly personal.

The advocates spoke of the process to getting legislation passed; the necessity of having legislative allies, of doing your homework on the issue and on the opponents to the bill; of being persistant (rarely does a bill pass the first time it is introduced).

While I find all of this fascinating, it is troubling to think that in the four years it took to pass an elder abuse law, who knows how many older adults died because new trainings had not been conducted and service provider relationships had not been strengthened. Kind of makes you wish for a smoother, speedier process when social problems that involve life and death need legislation. A process that isn't oftentimes petty, vindictive and greedy.