Friday, March 08, 2013

Some sensitive petals among Wyoming lawmakers

Things got particularly heated when state Sen. Phil Nicholas, who also serves as majority floor leader, held up two bills in the session’s closing days. They would have denied local governments the chance to make their own gun-control ordinances and the federal government the power to enforce its gun laws in the state.

Mr. Nicholas said the reason for his action was the tone and content of communications that lawmakers had gotten. But one suspects he also realized that at least one of them, the one to nullify federal law, and perhaps both, were bad bills.

Here is just one example from the Gun Owners Facebook page:

“(Expletive) Sen. Phil Nicholas, his (expletive) excuse of a (expletive) family and his left-wing excuse of conservative views. Sincerely, the guy who lives a block away from the (expletive.)”

On the other hand, one has to agree with Wyoming Gun Owners head Anthony Bouchard that legislators need to toughen up.

Consider also that overly sensitive lawmakers closed the media tables at the front of their chambers this session because they felt someone there had given them an angry look. Or the decision to tell people taking pictures they must remain seated in the galleries because legislators felt threatened by special interests’ cameras.

There is no doubt that the tone of political debate nationally, and now apparently in Wyoming, has gotten more partisan and angry. But the flip side is that lawmakers too often enforce rules of etiquette not for the sake of decorum but rather to silence, or at least quiet, those who disagree with them.

The people of this state have every right to express themselves and in ways that they choose n as long as those do not threaten lawmakers’ personal safety. Offensive speech has been at the heart of this nation’s political debate since its founding.

Still, interest groups might lower their tone a bit, if only so they can better get their ideas across. But lawmakers must learn to deal with some of those heated words. They were elected to hear the people, not shut them off for fear of being offended.



Anonymous said...

Are the elected lying crooks feeling threatened? Just wait until they see us marching on their capitals with lighted torches and strong ropes!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

When our elected tormentors fail to hear us, we sometimes have to shout to get their attention.