Dear legislators – all of you.
Don’t you think it’s time to make laws that apply to you also?
A current example is our freedom to arm ourselves and carry these weapons around with us. Consequentially, everyday citizens in everyday life can walk into our places of work or play with any number of guns. You lawmakers don’t have that same consequence. In your places of the work, guns aren’t allowed. You work in gun-free zones created for yourselves, by yourselves. Even out here in the hinterlands of Kalispell, far from the maddening crowds, U.S. Sens. Steve Daines and Jon Tester have offices with strong security measures and you can’t get in there with a gun. You make special rules for yourselves that are different from the rules that you make for the general public. How is that fair? I can’t take a gun into the halls of Congress or the White House, or any of those federal buildings, but I can take a gun into our schools. How is that fair or even good representation? It’s obvious that you lawmakers won’t take care of our needs as long as you don’t have to share our problems. If your children’s schools were shot up, the gun laws would be different. If your children were the ones going off to war, we wouldn’t be at war. It feels like you couldn’t care less about our problems as long as you don’t have to share them. You do pay attention to who is the highest bidder for your legislative powers and that obviously isn’t me or my friends and neighbors. Regardless of how the Second Amendment is interpreted, we should all live by the same rules.
I see this in so many aspects of our lives, whether it’s health insurance – yours is better – or the ability to be sued as the result of your lawmaking – you can’t be because you have sovereign immunity. You are not governed by work labor laws that the rest of us are, or of sexual harassment laws. You legislators are “special,” at least in your minds, and therefore deserve “special” rules.
On the local level it’s the same thing. An example is that downtown Kalispell has a serious parking problem but the city officials won’t acknowledge this because they have granted themselves specific reserved parking spaces. They don’t have a parking problem and therefore, in their minds, none exists. If the city manager and the planning department heads had to scramble for parking like the rest of the downtown employees do, they would feel that same pain, acknowledge the problem, and work on a solution. They can’t feel our pain until they share in it.
How about this: Make no laws or rules that you don’t have to live by also. Don’t be above the law.
Bill Goodman lives in Kalispell.
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