It’s a little hard to describe but it’s almost as if a false reality is created and if you spend too much time there you start to believe it’s all real. It all starts with the flattery. People in that building are constantly telling you how great you are, how smart you are and that others just don’t realize how talented you are. They hold the door open for you, buy you lunch and fall over themselves to do things for you.
It’s a lie. The reality is they’re only doing it because of the title in front of your name. Most folks in that building don’t give a flip about you as an individual but only what you can do for them. These people are lobbyist and special interest groups. The deception only serves their purpose and can slowly erode elected officials. You all know the old saying “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Well any power can be corrosive if you don’t stand above it.
I’ve found the best antidote for me is to rely on God and count on my good friends and wife to hold me accountable. They know me better than anybody and are quick to tell me when I’m getting too big for my britches. Eating a little humble pie every now and then doesn’t hurt either. I think the less time the House and Senate spend in that building the better. There’s less of a chance for special interests to have their way and less of an opportunity for politicians to go astray.
Years ago the Oklahoma legislature only met every other year. I proposed a bill this year to go back to that tradition. The Texas legislature only meets every other year and their state budget and population is much bigger than Oklahoma. If Texas does it why can’t we? In addition, it would demonstrate leadership in this recession. In a time when state employees are getting furloughed and people are out of work legislators could vote to cut their own salaries by 50% with a savings of anywhere from $25-45 million for the state. For a lot of different reasons the bill did not get a hearing. I still think it’s a good idea.
I’m glad to be out of that building for awhile. I like representing the people of Southwest Oklahoma. It’s a big honor and there is a tremendous opportunity to do good. But in the end I’ll take my wife and kids any day over that impressive, toxic, corrosive, inspiring building we call a State Capitol.
Contact Senator Tom Ivester at the State Capitol: (405) 521-5545 or by email at “firstname.lastname@example.org”.