Monday evening, State Sen. Richard Bray spoke at the local Republican Club.
Kay, who acutely knows I do not do meetings, asked why I was going.
I've always been somewhat of an admirer of Sen. Bray and wanted to hear what he had to say.
I hadn't gone to one of these meetings in at least five years, maybe longer. It's not that I got mad at the folks, but I have had a very bad five years.
Last time I went, someone had to drive me home. You see, I really don't do meetings well.
Sen. Bray has been our representative in Indianapolis since 1992. We've been here since 1996, making him the only State Senator I've ever known. Funny thing about living in Indiana 12 years: It's long enough to consider yourself a Hoosier, but not near long enough to understand Indiana politics.
I didn't get a chance to speak with the Senator -- slipping out before someone had to drive me home. Leaving quickly may be why I got home with more questions and observations than I arrived with.
My impression from first meeting Richard Bray back about 1997 was that he is an honorable man doing his best within the parameters of what he honestly believes is in the best interest of the state and his constituents.
Of course, this is the assumption I give all office holders until they prove otherwise.
My impression at the end of the meeting was that my first impression still held true. One wonders, though, how long any honorable person holds any specific office before turning into a politician?
Some unasked and unanswered questions about Indiana politics remain:
* Why do they call it a "budget?" When most of us hear of budgets, we think of guidelines that we or someone will try to live within given the known or projected income. It's no wonder budgets don't get us all excited. I think it'd be easier to appreciate all the legal jargon if they'd call the darn thing what it really is. Something like "blank-checks-to-spend-so-much-cash-whether-we-got-it-or-not," or some such title.
Like most states, Indiana follows the U.S. Constitution in having two legislative "houses." Is this really helpful? I'm pretty sure Nevada has only one house and seems to get along well enough as states go.
The Senator kept talking about things which the legislature couldn't finish in time. Why don't they stay with it until they get done? There must have been some good reason for session length back when set up in the 1800s.
Some of those attending the meeting came with specific agendas. I don't think I did. I feel for all office holders who hope at best to accomplish only a limited number of things in a limited number of days, and who are bombarded with many truly good things there just ain't time to get too.
It has been said that all politics are local. If this is true, then who runs for President in 2012 may not be nearly as important to Clay County as who we elect to the state legislature, or county and city offices. If we're going to get answers to unasked and unanswered questions, we might just have to get involved in local politics.
(The alternative is to leave it all to the lawyers!).
They tell me a good place to explore local politics is at a local Republican or Democratic meeting. I'd get involved myself, you understand, but I might mistakenly get asked to do something.
Then I'd have to go to meetings.
And I don't do meetings well.
David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.