|As a registered Independent, socially liberal pantheist, I am the yellow dandelion of Kansas.|
On Monday, I sent my letter to the twenty-six members of the House Committee on Federal and State Affairs, the president of the state senate, and the governor's office. I have had one reply so far, and this afternoon I met with the Republican state representative from my district, Mike Kiergerl. We had a nice, civil conversation that lasted almost an hour and a half, and I gave him some things to think about, especially relating to my experience with hyperemesis gravidarum.
It seems like the legislature just passes a lot of these bills through even if many of them don't agree with large portions of it, just so they can move on to the next bill. Amendments and riders really twist things around and he told me how he once voted against a bill he wrote because of the junk tacked onto it. We definitely had things we disagreed on, but he wasn't an extremist in most issues so he was easy to have a discussion with, and I can certainly respect someone who is willing to listen to what constituents of other view points have to say. He also understands the value of math and science, two areas of education I am passionate about.
He said portions of the H.B. 2598 will probably come up again next year because there were time limits attached to articles such as teaching D&Cs at state schools (it allows medical residents to learn the procedure at other venues until June 2013). Hopefully he'll remember some of the things I told him and use them during future discussions on these bills. He was quite level-headed about the issues and it would be nice if more politicians were, even if I don't agree with everything, or even most things they stand for. People of dissenting opinions need to be both respectful of and honest with each other if any sort of progress is to occur.
Small steps, but hopefully the small steps will lead to bigger ones. Open dialogues are a great way to come to terms with differences, and I think more politicians would benefit from sitting down for lunch with people of all demographics so they can understand where the other side is coming from. Even though there will always be philosophical differences where no compromise can be reached, a little respect goes a long way no matter what your opinions may be.