The floor is empty. The pages have come up to try throwing paper airplanes from the balcony. We are all headed home now to lick wounds and tie up the last of it next week.
This morning I made my final visit to the Senate, looking for my 5th vote to advance S1323, the addition of gays and lesbians to the Human Rights act to protect us from discrimination in employment, housing and education. Finally today I give up and concede that we will pick this work up again next year. I can't say dead. The bill is resting in a drawer until next year. We will be back. As many times as it takes-- and really too many have said that some year they know the time will be right. But why do they wait while people live in fear of losing jobs? Why do they wait while so many are forced to pretend they are other than they are? Why do they wait when so many in here clearly agree this is something which will be done someday. When will all the fear within this body stop overtaking the sense of what is right?
There were other losses today. Democrats watched as we lost MaryLou Shepard's vote (actually a typical thing to have happen) and gained only Leon Smith's vote on fending off a useless constitutional amendment to restrict local people's ability to use local option taxes for local needs. Personal Property taxes passed. International Education, carried by Tom Trail, who I think has drawn unimaginable derision from his own party, died on the floor.
I know how hard it is to be a Democrat but being a moderate Republican might just be harder in here and may produce lesser, more stressful results. It is the fear thing. Fear of your own party. Something about party allegiance, where, under this kind of conservative leadership, you might pay dearly for stepping out of the fold. We Democrats don't bother MaryLou, but Tom Trail, Mark Snodgrass, Leon Smith and Carlos Bilbao have paid for representing their districts and may still be paying for who they voted for as speaker or how they voted on something or how they spoke out and objected to a process or a piece of legislation.
But that's what is feeding the fear, all this tension, all these primaries, a year of fear of primaries. The filing closes in five minutes. Republicans are going at each other out there. We Democrats have some good candidates and good issues after this session. It all unfolds now, after this brutal day.