In addition to political, geographic and faith-based distinctions between folks at the Georgia State Capitol, those of us who spend the legislative session under the Gold Dome are also defined by which side of the Capitol we inhabit. The Mitchell Street side is where the corporate, rich, for-profit lobbyists spend their days. The MLK side –by the double elevators of course- is where my folks, the progressive nonprofit types hang.
I learned today from a republican legislator that the side of the Capitol where my allies and I spend our time is known as the “sad side of the hall.” Apparently we are known for standing in front of the monitors while watching what’s going on inside the chambers with big ol’ frowns on our faces. Hell, can you blame us? We spend our days watching perfectly good legislation tank and awful, hurtful legislation crossing the finish line faster than Dale Earnhardt Jr.
I never felt like our side was sad at all- I love the people I’m surrounded by on a daily basis on that side of the building: women’s advocates, environmentalists, advocates for gun safety, immigrant rights folks, people who watch out for the well-being of children’s education, safety and healthcare. Essentially, the folks that share my own values and views.
These are the people who do not have teams of people keeping their eyes on their legislation, interns to fetch bills or beverages, or assistants back at their offices keeping their practice running while they are gone for 3 months. They spend hours upon thankless hours advocating for what is right but likely doesn’t have a chance in hell of getting anywhere under our current conservative regime. There is incredible solidarity on our side of the hallway; I’ve been lucky enough to make wonderful friends there.
Not sad at all, really.
Today was the 30th day of the Georgia legislative session- the notoriously long crossover day that is the deadline for bills to pass out of the House from which they originated from. At around 8pm after many hours of debate, the Speaker announced that they would break for dinner for 30 minutes. Shelley and I quickly run out of the building to find some sustenance to help us make it through the final hours.
Much to our dismay, the one place that is open within a block of the Capitol closed at 8. As we watched the guy lock the door I could here the sad, mocking music in my head “wa, wa, waaaaah”. So we schlep another few blocks to awful Atlanta Underground and wait too long for too expensive too greasy sandwiches that we have to get to-go and then run back up the hill to the Capitol. At least we got cocktails in to-go cups too. A girl’s gotta take care of herself in these difficult times you know.
We get back to our side of the hall which now seems quite dark. Our comrades are splayed about on metal folding chairs dragged underneath the monitor so we can rest our tired feet. Everyone looks exhausted and yes, a little pathetic.
From where we settle down to eat our crappy dinner, we can see through the center of the Capitol on The Other Side. And then we hear music. And see musicians. And dancers.
The Other Side has an effing bluegrass band playing for entertainment and there are children dancing in circles for the amusement of lobbyists- to keep their spirits up, you know. How lovely for them.
Upon further exploration, we also determine that there are boxes from the Varsity filled with hot dogs, hamburgers and fries being passed out to all the folks standing around. You can almost see a golden orb circling the dude in the paper Varsity hat who stands on top of the mound of bright red and white boxes, tossing them out like Santa Clause sharing gifts. Ice is clinking in cocktails. Angels are singing for god’s sake. Okay so maybe I’m exaggerating- but its my blog so suck it.
On my side of the hallway, people are eating chocolate-covered raisins that the sweet House aide who pities us passed out, referring to them as “fruit”. And I reflect on our ridiculous journey to get food and make it back in time to make sure that our bills don't get hijacked by sneaky legislators. Oh, yes. I see it now. We ARE sad!
Jeez, yet again a Republican tells me accurately what my reality is – before I even know it to be true- during this m-effing Georgia legislative session.
I could speak from my heart and say something sappy that would wrap up this blog nicely. Something along the lines that I would take chocolate-covered raisins, metal chairs, and Shelley, Sandy and Alice a million times over free food and politics for profit.
But I think I’d rather remind folks that Rep James Mills thinks there’s a country called Irania. And that half the people up here use the words “fiscal” and “physical” interchangeably. And that they want to pass laws to allow them to bring their guns to church. And ban birth control pills for all women.
Yeah, I’m happy by the double elevators.
Please Let Me Know When and How We Get Paid For This - Btw are we gonna see this movie or what https://www. facebook.com/HailCaesarMovie/videos/483849498469356/ … 47m47 minutes ago [image: Tarannosaurus Rex] befo...
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