Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Will of the People

I steer away from politics on here most of the time. My blog is largely a personal journal of my life and times. Sometimes it's interesting to others, sometimes it's not. My themes are pretty typical down home stuff and I'm fairly predictable. I deeply appreciate those who do read here--it's not lost on me that you actually take time out of your day to read my navel gazing tirades and are kind enough to comment. So thank you very much.

 What I don't do is blog to stir up controversy. That's not me in real life either. But every so often something important enough comes along to shake me out of my soft fuzzy, mommy blogging haze and I feel the need to respond to it. This is one of those times.

There is a disturbing trend in Missouri politics that I was unaware of until a law that I feel strongly about was changed after it was placed on the ballot and voted on by the people.

Chances are, if you live in the US and you're a passionate dog owner, you probably know the story of Proposition B , also known as the Puppy Mill Law of Missouri, and you've very likely formed an opinion that places you on one side or the other in the debate. You probably know that the law was very narrowly voted into existence by the people and that recently the Missouri legislature rewrote it completely, rendering it gutless and useless.

 After pushing past all the propaganda put out by both the proponents and the detractors, I read the bill for myself, studied the wording and even prayed about it some. I am well aware of how the wrong law, no matter how well-intentioned, can make a mess of things, but I saw nothing in it that would do much more than inconvenience people who treat dogs like cattle, whose primary interest in them is in how well they fill their bank accounts.

And, just to be clear-- I have nothing against breeders who view dogs as companion animals and pets first and sources of income second. I know some of these. They are fine people. Their dogs are "family members" and when they breed they do so carefully and screen prospective owners to be sure that they understand the commitment they're making. They take back puppies that didn't work out and remain a solid source of advice for the owners who seek it out. They do not sell to puppy stores or vendors and do not ship puppies to other states without having met the prospective owner. Proposition B would not affect them because they don't keep enough dogs to be considered a commercial breeding operation and their dogs generally live in the house and receive the best of care anyway. They work with breed rescues and animal shelters to help find home for dogs that have fallen into bad situations. If I was going to buy a dog (and so far God has provided . . .). I would go to someone like this.  

So I voted a very well-informed, Yes. I am absolutely sure I am not the only voter in the state who did her homework and made the decision thinkingly and for the Missouri legislature to indicate that we-the voters-didn't understand what we wanted and to set about correcting our "mistake" indicates their disdain for us more clearly than they know. I am deeply disappointed in them.

I clearly have lots and lots of strong feelings concerning dogs and how they should be treated and I'm furious about the changes to the law, but that's not the only thing I'm concerned about. For me, this is becoming about a state government that feels free to ignore the will of the people either because they think we don't know any better or because someone offered them a lot of money/campaign support to alter laws we've voted and agreed on. I turned up the following instances with just a little light digging.

In 1999, the Missouri voters said No to a concealed weapon measure. Four years later, the Missouri legislature passed one anyway. In fact, they expanded it.

In 2006, Missouri voters said yes to a bill (ironically known as Proposition B) that would allow minimum wage to first be adjusted to coincide with the federal minimum wage and then be adjusted annually based on the consumer price index. The current legislature has set about repealing that law and capping minimum wage at federal level.

In 2009, the Missouri voters said Yes to Proposition C, a bill meant to wean our state off fossil fuel driven energy. This bill was actually placed on the ballot by private citizens who went door to door getting signatures on a petition. It passed with room to spare. The idea was to have at least 15% of our energy coming from clean renewable sources by 2021. The Missouri legislature is now in the process of making sure that this law never has the intended effect.

And now this. Clearly this most recent event is not the first time they've done this, it is simply the first time they've been this transparent about it.  I wonder how often this has happened without our knowledge?

We've been asleep at the wheel, folks, and it's time to wake up.

Oh--and here's a list of those who voted Yes to changing (the most recent) Proposition B. You'll notice it's bipartisan. I'm not sparing anyone on this one. And when the lists on the changes to the minimum wage law and Proposition C come out--I'll bring those here too.

      Dan Brown, Rolla.
      Jason Crowell, Cape Girardeau.
      Bob Dixon, Springfield.
      Kevin Engler, Farmington.
      Jack Goodman, Mount Vernon.
      Mike Kehoe, Jefferson City.
      Brad Lager, Savannah.
      Rob Mayer, Dexter.
      Brian Munzlinger, Williamstown.
      Brian Nieves, Washington.
      Mike Parson, Bolivar.
      David Pearce, Warrensburg.
      Chuck Purgason, Caulfield.
      Ron Richard, Joplin.
      Scott Rupp, Wentzville.
      Rob Schaaf, St. Joseph.
      Kurt Schaefer, Columbia.
      Bill Stouffer, Napton.
      Jay Wasson, Nixa.
      Jane Cunningham, Chesterfield.
      Tom Dempsey, St. Charles.
      Will Kraus, Lee's Summit.
      John Lamping, St. Louis.
      Jim Lembke, St. Louis.
      Luann Ridgeway, Smithville.
      Eric Schmitt, Glendale.
      Victor Callahan, Independence.
      Maria Chappelle-Nadal, St. Louis.
      Kiki Curls, Kansas City.
      Tim Green, St. Louis.
      Jolie Justus, Kansas City.
      Joe Keaveny, St. Louis.
      Ryan McKenna, Crystal City.
      Robin Wright-Jones, St. Louis.


Scotty said...

Politicians seem to forget rather quickly who put them in office - it's easy to remind them the next time an election comes along...


Mary O. Paddock said...

Yes, they do Scotty. I think in America we've been inclined to believe that they don't since we don't have anyone using the military to keep themselves in power. Here they're smart enough to keep it subtle. It's worrisome.