In my last members post, I talked about the roller coaster ride of legislative activism. This week, I was reminded why I need to take my own advice and always keep pushing.
I’ve mentioned before that discouragement is a natural part of activism. There is a lot of opposition. There are plenty of setbacks. But sometimes when you keep pressing on even when you’ve apparently lost the fight, you can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
That happened to me last week in the local activism I’m working on to address the surveillance state in my hometown. (You can learn more about that work and the ins and outs of grassroots activism on the Tenth Amendment Center Activism 101 Podcast.) I did an open records request, and the Lexington Police Department denied it. They hid the records I wanted behind a homeland security exemption. I almost just gave up. I figured there was no way I could win this one. But then I thought, “No. Push it.” So I appealed the decision to the state attorney general.
And I won!
I was honestly surprised. I really throught the AG would side with the cops. That’s why I was reluctant to spend time pushing the issue in the first place.
Lesson: just because we lose a battle doesn’t mean we’ve lost the war.
This same principle apples to the legislative work we do here at the TAC. It’s amazing how many bills take two, three and even more runs through a state legislature before they actually pass. Just this year, a bill eliminating state capital gains taxes on gold and silver specie, and encouraging its use as currency in Arizona was finally signed into law being vetoed in 2013, 2015, and 2016. It took over a decade for Illinois to successfully legalize medical marijuana.
I have to admit, my nature is a bit pessimistic. So, I sometimes have to remind myself to keep pushing.