I recognized her immediately from last year’s legislative session: soft, shoulder-length grey hair curled in a flip; sparkling blue eyes looking fearlessly into mine with purpose and affection; brightly colored clothes selected for a lengthy bus commute; and a pull-along bag topped with miscellaneous stuff that made sense to her and was a mystery to me. Just like last year, she had traveled at least an hour by bus and train to voice her concerns to people of power.
Last year we talked for the first time as we waited for a committee meeting to begin. This year, we are old friends. She is one of the people I admire most at the capitol. No one pays her to appear at hearings. She has no slick presentations. She doesn’t even really know how committee meetings work, but that doesn’t stop her. She asks to speak regardless of the agenda, and the senators let her because it’s the polite thing to do.
She is the best our nation has to offer. A walking, talking civics lesson. A testament to representative government. And her efforts won't affect policy in the slightest.
But when she joins with tens, or hundreds, or thousands of these beautiful patriots, she becomes part of a force that can stare down the largest of corporations and the coldest of politicians.
Here come the Garden Club Ladies.