Like many in America, I am troubled by the lack of seriousness of purpose in our legislators, whether they be on the national, state or local level. What do I mean by seriousness of purpose? We have become so polarized in our mainstream political parties, that people with very strident and even extreme views are now elected officials. This would normally be quite entertaining, especially with some extreme members of Governor Bobby Jindal’s self-named “stupid party,” but what is sad is these people are in office offering inane legislation and making decisions on behalf of their extreme views of the greater good. We need for the more reasonable members of each party to quiet down the inanity in their own ranks. We need more seriousness of purpose in the debate of issues of import, not issues heralded by the lunatic fringe.
People wonder what it would be like if the GOP controlled the White House, the House of Representatives and Senate. You would need to look no further than my home state of NC, whose tenure is now being referred to by others as the “Reign of Error.” Esquire Magazine has said NC is trying to become like Mississippi, which was not intended to be compliment, although I like people from that state. And, various scientific magazines are highly critical of the parade against green legislation that has been successful in curbing carbon emissions and pushed NC to be the 4th most prolific solar energy state in the US. On a weekly, sometimes daily basis, there is a bill or law to hurt those in need, make it easier for business to pollute, eliminate some taxes on billionaires (as they need a break), restrict the rights of voters, introduce state-wide religion (that was defeated), peel back requirements promoting alternative energy, ignore climate change, strip away requirements on LEED building, cut down trees for more electronic billboards, not accept a report on predicted sea level rise that agreed with other states and so on.
When inane bills are proposed, if they are not squashed by reasonable leadership, it reflects poorly on their party. It is hard to take people seriously when they are offering legislation that does not help the greater good and is actually the exact opposite of what is needed. It is hard for us citizens to see embarrassing legislation discussed. The leadership needs a seriousness of purpose otherwise they will be viewed as supporting the inane bill. Just today, the Charlotte Observer had an editorial about an inane bill in SC, saying it was nice for them to take the spotlight off NC’s inane legislature.
Two examples that never seem to go away reflect on our President. As a 54 year-old white voter, I am amazed that the leadership of the GOP would not tell the strident people in their party to give it a rest on the issue of the President’s birth certificate and whether he is really a Muslim. This would not happen if Obama had a white father, so of course, there is an element of racism here. I won’t even go into the lunatic fringe that think Obama is the anti-Christ. To John McCain’s credit he did try to quiet one woman who spouted how evil Candidate Obama was – McCain finally said “he is a decent, public servant.” But, his voice was not loud enough to quiet down the naysayers that continue to this day. Unfortunately, some of these folks got elected.
Yet, getting back to our legislators, we have people who are spouting creationism as science, who want to introduce their religion on people even though our forefathers clearly separated church and state with purpose, who are have interesting views on areas of birth control, conception, God’s punishment with natural disasters, and who have some fairly biased opinions on people of different races, ethnicities, and sexual orientation. There is an US Congressmen from Tennessee who promotes “faith and trust” as his campaign slogan and is against abortion. Yet, this elected official has had multiple affairs, sexual encounters with his patients, and his wife and two of his mistresses have had abortions. Unfortunately, he is has competition for the most bizarre elected official.
We have serious issues and we need serious discussion by serious people. We do not need inane politicians that either embody Bobby Jindal’s assertion or actually know better, but have dumbed down their message to appeal to an audience who does not pay attention. There are actually a couple of Ivy League educated legislators who are guilty of this. This could be construed as Machiavellian. By the way, Bobby Jindal is one of them, as his state has a law that requires the teaching of creationism as a science. Jindal has a degree in Biology from Brown University. As Forrest Gump would say “stupid is as stupid does.”
The legislators’ seriousness of purpose is owed to us as citizens. We also need it with our news reporters. They spend too much time on the game of politics (who won or lost on an issue) or gotcha politics where someone must be vilified for a flawed act, rather than the issues of import. The questions they should be asking are the same ones the legislators need to focus on. What are you doing about jobs? What are you doing about eco-energy investment? What are you doing to curb the deficit, increasing some revenue while cutting some spending and investing in our infrastructure? What are doing about real immigration reform and gun control? These issues need sober debate, but above all they need to be debated by politicians with seriousness of purpose.