I've paced every bit of marble around the rotunda between the two chambers many times today. I've been on the phone and visited members in their rabbit warren of basement office suites one after another. Senate members have talked to House members with me but it is no good now. The bullying bill S1105 is dead. It died on the calendar for lack of consideration.
To the young people from Sandpoint, Nampa, Jerome, Boise, Challis and across the state who I have told "It gets Better" — I need you to know, it does. Even if the most powerful in our state don't all yet understand the road you've walked, the strength you have had to find inside your selves when others said you had none. Still it gets better. I have promised to make it better — and I will. We will.
This year we tried so hard and came so close. But you must know there are people here who have not heard your stories. There are elected Representatives who think that bullying makes a person stronger. They need to understand how wrong that is.
And yes I asked them:
Have you never walked then in the shoes of a child whose family has rejected them, their church has turned them away, and now, at school, they are taunted or hit by those who think difference is a weakness — that it gives others a license to cause pain.
Have you never been a child whose life is a struggle on its own –and for whom school could be salvation or a hell –but because of the calculated cruelty of just one person, it does become a hell.
Have you have never watched a young person fail to see the beauty inside themselves? Have you watched someone see nothing but darkness — no strength or promise — until that they take their own life?
If you ever imagined such sadness, you might have fought for this bill.
But the House has just gaveled an end and adjourned for the year. The Senate has been done for a few hours. The kind words there flowed for a bit like and odd balm after three months of battle. The issues from closed primaries to rejecting federal health reform, cutting mental health treatment and education all split the Republican Party and the Senate itself again and again.
And the bill to make it better for young people died.
There is no end in this though only a beginning because there need to be more voices next year. If you have stories you need to share them. We need them. We need you to help us make sure it gets better. firstname.lastname@example.org