PEOPLE BEING INTERVIEWED IN A SUPERMARKET
(SHOPPER 1) “She had an unusual religion. Where you can’t get involved in partisan politics. You know? Really. You can’t run for office. Only if you’re appointed. And that’s what happened with her. This old man from her district died. The prime minister asked, who is the best person from your district. They said, ah there’s this retired teacher, a school principal. So they named her. And then she goes there. And starts talking about things.”
(SHOPPER 2) “Solving problems. That’s what she did. While other members were stuck and arguing. She started bringing solutions. And it was so refreshing it caught on. Like a wildfire.”
(SHOPPER 3) “Yeah, and then, people started to watch what she said. It was on television. Her speeches were carried live. And I skipped class one time, because Maria Klaus was going to speak.”
(SHOPPER 4) “Even in the bars. They switched the channel to see her speak. If they knew she was going to speak.”
(SHOPPER 5) “Well that was not so shocking as her first speech in parliament. I looked this one up later, when I was doing my master’s degree on her. And it was absolutely amazing what she did. She changed the rules of the game. She established a whole new set of rules for deliberation. And this applied only when SHE brought something to the floor.”
(SHOPPER 6) “Ah, but it started to rub off. Because by contrast, it made other practices look silly. Actually, you could now see right through members who had an agenda, or who were controlled by special interest groups.”
April 21, Year 1
I thank the Speaker, Ladies and Gentlemen, for his gracious introduction and I accept his invitation to address to you a few words. As the speaker mentioned, I am from the — district and I am humbled, sincerely humbled to be in this beautiful edifice, so full of meaning for our people and on which rest so many of their hopes.
I am also a bit overwhelmed to be among the company of such distinguished ladies and gentlemen such as yourselves, who have chosen this field of endeavor, to be public servants, and have spent many years here.
In fact, that is why I address you, to explain to you the peculiarities that have led me here, and the limitations to my service. You see, I will be here a very short time. As you know I was appointed by our illustrious Prime Minister to complete the term of the late distinguished Mr. —–, member for my district for the last 37 years. I have never harbored any aspiration for a political career and was greatly surprised to be asked to undertake this challenge. Nevertheless, I am committed to serve in good faith, to the best of my ability, giving all my heart and mind to the devising of solutions to our country’s problems.
The reason I say I am surprised to find myself here, is that if the normal course of events were to be followed, I could not be here. You see, my religion, it makes no matter what that religion is, I know we make no distinctions here. But the fact of the matter is that I am prevented by that religion from engaging in any form of partisan politics. At present, our political system as u know is very much ruled by the party system. In order to obtain a seat in parliament one must align oneself with one party, in opposition to another. So. The first peculiarity of my case is this, that I will not, indeed cannot seek a second term following the completion of this one.
I appreciate your perplexity, but it must be so.
Now I am sure you have already deduced from this my next difficulty. And that is that I must serve without aligning myself to any political party. You ask yourself perhaps, how can I be of any use at all, then? Well, I have given this a great deal of reflection and I feel there may be a way, if I simply confine myself to deliberating the merits of a question, without regard for how it affects the interests of the various parties or its alignment with a particular partisan ideology. Likewise, ladies and gentlemen, when I bring a proposal to the floor, which I hope, with conscientious study to be able to do, you will help me greatly, by following a procedure where you deliberate my proposals on its merits, with full and total frankness, with full indulgence of my inability to explain how it would fall within the various party alignments. If you are able to do this, I am sure you will quickly ferret out the flaws of my argument or be able to add modifications of improvement. With that explanation, which I hope was sufficiently brief, I hope I have obtained your goodwill for the peculiarity of my mode of serving my term of office.
Thank you very much.
As reported by Rhea Harmsen