The Joke (on us) Has (at least for now) Ended.

Yes, folks, the circus that was the 62nd Legislature of the State of Montana has been officially closed.

It was one of the most contentious sessions in memory- and one of the most publicized. Sadly, for Republicans, it was mostly at their expense. Republican lawmakers introduced the most ridiculed and bigoted legislation in Montana history- giving the state its fair share of national media attention. Only some of it good.

Mostly it was about third-rate candidates such as Billy Bob Wagner, who introduced legislation to reinstate the gold standard, and was laughed at nationally on Anderson Cooper 360 for his ridiculous “birther” bill (but mostly for his stupidity). Then there was Kris Hansen, a “secret lesbian” who introduced one of the most pro-discrimination legislative actions to ever hit the aisles of the Capitol. Mary Cheney, anyone? And the Montana GOP, for no good reason other than to perpetuate hate and shame, voted to keep The Gays illegal- and we heard some of the most disgusting testimony to ever foul a Capitol microphone.

And don’t forget (as if I could) Janna Taylor’s ridiculous, ignorant and dangerous comments about HIV in the Montana prison system. In my opinion, the defining moment of the session. And that is a short list of all the craziness perpetuated at the time and expense of the people of Montana-a better list is here.

But I want to take a minute to thank the legislators who spent a great deal of their time and energy standing up for the rights of Montanans. Diane Sands, Carol Williams, Christine Kaufmann and Bryce Bennett all spent a lot of time defending equality and testifying against discrimination, bigotry and homophobia in this session. If you see any of them, thank them. Buy them a drink.

Hell, give them a kidney if they need one.

It is folks such as these- and all who testified, protested, blogged and wrote letters-, who keep our freedoms alive- and who stand in the face of political bigotry and chicanery.  And let’s not forget Jamee Greer, Mike Wessler, Niki Zupanic and all the representatives of groups who lobbied for human equality- they get all the abuse, ridicule and sleepless nights, but not enough recognition. Drinks and kidneys for them, too.

Let’s give Carol Williams the last word (for now):

“I’m proud of our work.

With that, Mr. Chairman, I will wish you luck in the next session probably trying to fix a lot of the things we broke this time.”

Shining A Light Into The Scary Scary Dark…

 

Whether or not you believe the Montana Legislature has lost it (I don’t want to make clinical assessments about persons I haven’t evaluated personally); whether or not you believe some of the tripe that is being considered for legislation (I know- paranoia is hard to ignore); whether or not you are a believer in term-limits (where are the statesmen statespersons who are concerned for the long-term health and well-being of Montana, and not just for the spasmodic pushing through of personal, unscientific and socially ignorant positions? Sorry, bad sentence structure- read again) and whether or not you are a reasonable human being who would rather they just all go away and not come back for another two years (I’m trying to be open to the process, but I’m losing patience fast); this Legislature is doing things that require the voice of reason to increase in volume.

To wit: Nutjob Bills In The Montana Legislature.

And etc.: Natural Disaster: Republican legislators wage war on Montana’s environmental laws.

And just in case you missed it, the poster child of the 2011 Montana Legislature.

There is a chance to make your voice heard. Get involved. Speak.

And if you want some company, go here.