When is a lame duck not so lame?
Answer: when it is moved to tears!
Did you know that the phrase “lame duck” is actually in the dictionary?
Our legislators in Michigan are wrapping up the current legislative session in what is referred to as the lame duck session, which is the period that goes from the November elections until the two-year legislative session ends in December. I am the legislative contact for Christian Science in Michigan and I have attended a number of floor sessions this year at the Capital in Lansing. I was following the sessions last week online while attending to other tasks in the office. I didn’t follow all of the session last Thursday as both chambers went well into the night (as this was scheduled as the last floor session in the Michigan Senate this year, although it looks like that may have changed).
I saw our legislators take turns giving farewell speeches. But they also continued to work as a group, very civilly, desperately trying to get many bills through before time runs out. On Thursday, by my count, the Michigan Senate attended to 126 items before adjourning at 4:00 a.m. and the Michigan House attended to 149 items before adjourning at 6:35 a.m. That’s a lot of activity, a lot of movement. And so late!
They were still working hard as the session goes down to the wire. That, to me, shows dedication. Some might see it differently. I understand that. But in my meetings with legislators I have found that they are intelligent, thoughtful, hard-working people who really do care about the interests of the people of Michigan. They don’t all see everything eye-to-eye, but then, neither do the people of Michigan, right?
Here’s what really struck me. In last week’s sessions I saw more than one legislator get choked up with emotion as they said farewell. It is clear to me that they care deeply about their work and about the welfare of the people of Michigan. It was really quite moving! Not so lame after all!
In their farewell speeches, our legislators looked back over their time in the Michigan legislature at their accomplishments, challenges, and frustrations, but they spoke most about the friendships gained, about working together. Some of these farewell speeches were very moving! Not so lame after all!
One of my memorable moments from talking with legislators this year came in a meeting with a Michigan Senate staff member, who, upon learning that I was fairly new in my position, took the time to share insights with me on how to work with legislators. I still remember him telling me that the legislative process is all about developing relationships – it’s about making friendships and working together.
I have found that many are unaware that Christian Science is not only a religion but also a system of healing – a system of care. This includes Christian Science practitioners who are self-employed and are hired and paid by patients to provide spiritual treatment through prayer, Christian Science nurses who provide skilled non-medical physical care such as cleaning and dressing wounds, and Christian Science nursing facilities that provide this care when the need is more extensive. Not everyone makes this choice. But it is available to all. I have found care in Christian Science to be effective in my life both as a child and now as an adult.
I’m so proud of our legislators. The ones who will be leaving the Legislature at year’s end have been receiving tributes, on the record. I’m happy to add one more tribute to them all as group. Obviously, there remains much work to do next year, but the contributions of these decent, hard-working men and women are really quite moving. So not so lame after all!
No, not so lame at all!