“Why do they even bother to come to Richmond?” she said. “Who?” I asked. “Those politicians in the legislature,” she replied.
We were in the grocery store as the conversation continued and her protests unfolded. She made sense and provided for me new insight into how cynicism, distrust and disrespect towards politicians are fueled.
She didn’t cover everything or everyone, and she acknowledged that decent men and women served in the General Assembly. But she did note it was hard to find them sometimes.
“We’re paying them to come to Richmond and spend time passing legislation establishing as state law that someone cannot put a microchip in my body without my permission. And they think we need such a law? Can we say assault and battery? Where did they park their brains?” she noted disdainfully.
I don’t think she knew that some supported the bill for fear that the chips constituted the “Mark” of the “Antichrist.” Why anyone not so afflicted with this delusion would support the bill remains a mystery.
One searches in vain for a sensible reason why anyone could believe such a bill is needed and why one second would be spent on such nonsense when the Commonwealth struggles with gargantuan challenges.
Then there is the highly publicized repeal of the limitation on purchasing more than one hand gun a month. Wow!!! Now talk about legislation that is really needed. It was just reported out of committee and received preliminary approval in the House of Delegates.
How has Virginia survived since the Wilder administration with this monumental restriction on personal liberty infecting our statutes? Think of how many people are sitting at home counting down the hours, nay minutes, when they can walk, whoops run, to their nearest gun store and buy more than one hand gun a month!!! And the scary part-just who might that be and what do you think they might do with those hand guns?
Sell them illegally to those who cannot buy them directly? Now who would think such a thing!!
Talk about a wise use of time and resources. We should be thankful our elected officials think so deeply about our needs that they took their precious time and our precious resources to steer these two measures through the House of Delegates (assuming the repeal passes).
Maybe, just maybe, the Senate will remind us why we have two Chambers in the General Assembly and send these two measures to an early grave. But don’t hold your breath!!
Then on a much more unfortunate note, we have Speaker Bill Howell, assuming Virginia’s version of Nebraska’s United States Senator Ben Nelson, who engineered the infamous Cornhusker Kickback-the enticement to Nebraska in the form of special Medicaid monies for Nelson’s support of Obama’s health care legislation.
Speaker Howell, according to numerous press reports and conversations with legislators, unabashedly nearly exhausted his power to reward, pressure and punish delegates to support a bill benefiting a single Fortune 500 company and insulating (pun intended) it from lawsuits based upon it (or a company it purchased) inflicting asbestos related injuries on innocent victims.
The Speaker is a decent and likeable man. His conduct here is puzzling. Bluntly, everything about this bill and the Speaker’s high-handed (to be polite) tactics is offensive. Since the Speaker declined to be interviewed in the articles I read, I am unaware if he has publicly provided a strong defense for the bill. Some defended it as necessary to prevent the company, Crown Cork & Seal, from closing Virginia plants and eliminating those jobs. And in this session it’s all about jobs, right?
Never mind the victims. Never mind that only one company benefits and others must still contend with the lawsuits, as of course they should. What about those jobs? Oh, I forgot, never mind they are not in Virginia! This is a dangerous precedent.
Never mind the flow of campaign funds from Crown Cork & Seal to important destinations. Never mind the cynicism this fuels.
Again, thankfully there are two Chambers. The Speaker’s reach into the Senate is limited. He can’t punish Senators by removing them from Committees or reward them by appointing them to choice assignments. He still has some ability to influence events there but hopefully not enough to help this monstrosity pass.
Surely, the Commonwealth will survive these ventures into the legislative dark side. But in the meantime, it is not a pretty sight.
Wyatt Durrette is a Director at DurretteBradshaw, PLC (www.durrettebradshaw.com) and co-founder of the XDL Group. He served three terms in the House of Delegates and was the Republican candidate for Governor in 1985.