Rep. Brian Jones (D-Freedom) on LD 1487 Opposition: “I got mine; good luck getting yours”
Here is video of are Rep. Jones’ floor speech and transcribed remarks as prepared for delivery.
Mr. Speaker, men and women of the House,
I rise to speak to the decisions that we must make and the actions that we must take, in light of the conflict between what we earnestly believe the right thing to do is and what we realistically can accomplish, between the ideal and the real constraints under which we work.
Is the legislation before us perfect? Of course not. Is it the best we can do for our citizens on this day, given its imperfections and our differences? Yes. Is there a viable alternative plan before us today? No.
I rise to speak of the values of the citizens I represent, and these values are visible and their benefits are tangible for all in our community to see.
Mr. Speaker, the citizens that I represent volunteer as firefighters and emergency medical personnel; we volunteer to teach the illiterate to read; we keep jumper cables, a chain, and a bucket of sand in our pickups to help those who have gone off the road in the winter. And we help the so-called worthy and the unworthy equally.
We collect donations and provide heating fuel for our neighbors, because we believe that no one should be cold in the winter. We have a vibrant volunteer food pantry, and we have community gardens because we believe no one should go hungry. And, we place a jar on the counter of our local general store to collect donations for a family who’s experienced misfortune or, most relevantly to this discussion, illness.
That every one of our fellow human beings should be healed when sick is a belief I know, Mr. Speaker, we all share. It’s essential to our nature of empathy and our understanding of compassion. But the collection plate in church and the donation jar in the general store have demonstrated they cannot completely fulfill this purpose. Nor have the directives to “work harder” or “get a better job” met this need.
We have heard today that we cannot afford, we do not have the money, to provide this remedy for our fellow men and women. Mr. Speaker, we cannot serve two masters: we will hate one and love the other; or we will be devoted to one and despise the other. Mr. Speaker, either we serve the master of compassion or we serve the master of money. We choose today whom we will serve, the master of benevolence or the master of selfishness, and today eternity is witness to our actions.
Mr. Speaker, the worship of the ancient golden calf has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy and a government lacking a truly human purpose. We have drunk from the fountainhead of personal enrichment and the philosophy of “I got mine; good luck getting yours.”
Mr. Speaker, heaven have mercy on my soul if, on my travels from Jerusalem to Jericho, I pass by on the other side of the road when I see a man, beaten and naked in the ditch.
Mr. Speaker, the dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good are concerns which ought to shape all of our policies, even if the instrument before us is imperfect.
Mr. Speaker, I ask each member of this body to consider his or her conscience and faith when we vote.