27 April 2008

D.C - Here we come . Let's put some democracy in action"

The weather was great. No rain, No winds, Not cold, just perfect to visit the nations capital, D.C. Tourists were abound and some were taking a tour of the Capitol hill and the splendid sights and activities that the capital had to offer. However, we were on a serious mission. We were there to meet the state senators and congressman. We were lobbying - making a petition. They lend us their ears and we were grateful that they did.

So with the help of a lobby firm who arranged meetings with the congressman and senator a group of us were at their offices in D.C. At the office we met the legislative aides/directors. Some aides with knowledge about the issue, Some new and interested in learning more. Some enthusiastic, and others diplomatic that they avoided every question we asked and their bosses opinion. Some very enthusiastic, that they asked us to send in a letter for co-signing. Others poker faced and still others with faces just like the Queen's guards. Some legislative aides said that they would like to follow through and wanted us to keep in touch with them. Almost every legislative aide gave their visiting cards and One other just continued to say, 'right, right. I understand". She definitely was a "bottomless bucket", who had no idea of the issue in hand. My german colleague was simply perturbed by the legislative aide who had no idea of our issue and almost said to her" if you have no idea of the issue why are you representing your boss. Another legislative aide was just polite enough that she did not want us thrown out immediately and so said, " send me the letter and we will sign it" and showed us the door in 5 minutes when the meeting was scheduled for 30 minutes.

For the issue we represented we did not expect cooperation from the republican congressmen that we met, On the contrary we did. As a foreigner in this country, getting access to lawmakers offices was a feat in itself, and getting an opportunity to represent our case for a very controversial and sensitive issue was another major hurdle crossed. I had mixed feelings in representing, but it was also a matter of being oneself. To take the path that many did not want to take. I am glad we did make our petition and glad to be part of history in the making.

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