Today a gay civil rights bill passed both houses of state government in Washington State. I know that some people believe that this is a sad day for Washington State. I am thankful that leaders in the state courageous in governing. The question is framed well by one of the senators: does a gay or lesbian person have the right to exist in society? I think the questions need to go much further--but a basic civil right has been established in the law of Washington State--for this I am proud.
I remember my week as a Washington State Senate Page in 1985, running errands for various Senators and observing state government in action. I was a freshman in high school at the time. Amazingly enough, I was curious about Republicanism in those days--I trusted my grandfather who was a supporter of Ronald Reagan--I'm guessing he was a Reagan Democrat. He was a campaign manager for Democratic State Senator Avery Garrett, who sponsored my week as a page. During that week, I had many conversations with State Senator Pete Von Reichbauer--I remember thinking that supply side economics was a compelling theory. I also held a fascination with the actions of the Soviet Union and that somehow SDI could keep the United States safe. My curiosity never led me to side with either party in the United States, only led me to ask more questions. When my grandfather was angry that I decided to study Russian, Soviet Politics and History at the University, I began to realize that questions about politics as usual in the United States are always threatening to the two party system, and my mistrust of current party politics began. The story about gay civil rights has reminded me today that developing my own observational skills of politics began with my week in the Washington State Senate.
Though I remain suspicious of two-party politics, I am thankful for what Democrats in Washington were able to achieve.