Today, following the rally at ODFW, in defense of the Sea Lions, my partner and I went to the Capital, to attempt to speak to our elected representatives.
Since our district is "Represented" by Senator Girod, we had little hope for a fair hearing, since he has already made it pretty clear that he is in favor of killing almost anything in his misguided belief that he might be able to save the salmon without removing the dams.
Our fears proved well founded. We arrived in his office, and were warmly greeted as "constituents from Colton." Immediately upon hearing of our purpose for being there, however, he quickly and forcefully crossed his arms, and stated unequivocally that he would not be listening to our discussion, and that he was unalterably opposed to any effort to save the sea lions.
We politely informed Mr. Girod that we understood his position, but would still appreciate it if he would at least give our position some thought, and read the brochure which we had brought for him. He almost made the sign of the cross with his fingers, as if warding off a vampire or a witch, and backed away from the offending brochure as if it was somehow diseased. His aide graciously received the document, which I am sure was wearing out the bearings in his shredder before we reached the elevator.
Now, I am not so na´ve as to expect that any elected representative would naturally agree with my every whim. Neither do I believe that these representatives are obligated to be effusive and overjoyed at every constituent's ideas. I am realist enough to know that most will follow the dollar, most especially when they have been elected as a Republican.
What I do expect, however, is the same courtesy that I afford to this person whose salary I pay. I would think that common courtesy, not to mention political savvy, would cause a Senator to at least feign interest in the conversation of a constituent who has traveled thirty miles to see him. A short discussion, followed by a "thank you for your interest, I will study the material that you have brought, although I cannot guarantee at this time that my views will agree with yours," or some similar answer, would at least not engender disgust in a potential voter. Of course, if later his vote disagreed with mine, it might result in the loss of my vote, but would probably not result in my enmity, and guarantee that we will be working very hard to see that his political career is as deceased as his ability to converse politely.
I can guarantee the Senator that he has two political enemies in Colton, where he might even have had support. Perhaps he has so much money coming in from fishing interests that he feels he does not need our support. So be it.
Our reception at the office of our Representative (Gilliam) was much warmer, although the representative was not present, so I cannot say whether or not he would have been as tactless as Senator Girod. Mr. Gilliam's aide received our brochure, and even recalled quickly that she had recently responded to some correspondence from us via email. (Girod has not responded to a similar note, and I don't expect that he ever will). She assured us that the Representative would review the material provided. That is all that we can ask.