Now and then on especially busy days, I stop and watch as all these groups pass through the packed hallways in search of the committee room where a bill they support or oppose is up for discussion, looking a little lost as they hunt for the appropriate committee on the schedules posted outside committee rooms and at hallway junctions.
Most of them seem unaware of the expensive suits carrying brief cases passing among them. These are the really powerful people here, of course. They’re the hired guns, the lobbyists, the men and women who often actually write our laws on behalf of the powerful who pay them six figures for 60 days of work.
Then there are the school children and Boy Scouts who come on field trips, often wide-eyed at the majesty of the capitol dome, the massive marble columns, the rotunda and the imposing statue of Abraham Lincoln. Sometimes they pose outside the governor’s office while parents take photos, oblivious to the powerful lawmaker or a cabinet secretary walking past them.
Outside the cafeteria stands the lonely protestor of mountaintop removal, surrounded by large photographs of the devastation in eastern Kentucky positioned so lawmakers can’t miss them as they come for lunch. He knows the lawmakers long ago trained themselves to stare past and ignore him. But bless his heart and hopes, he’s back the next day anyway.
Reporters, lawmakers, staff – we all bemoan the crowded hallways and especially the long cafeteria lines when we’re trying to grab a bite to eat before the next committee meeting.
We’re wrong to do that. It’s the people’s house and the people’s business. It encourages me that some haven’t forgotten.