Our Despicable State Legislature

What can anyone say about Indiana’s legislature that adequately captures the perversity, the stupidity and the venality of the place?

It is hard to believe the sheer amount of embarrassing antics they have managed to cram into a short session. From the patently unconstitutional (teaching creationism, really? Every court that has ever considered the matter has said the same thing–you can’t teach religion in public school science class) to the teaching of cursive (breaking news: you weren’t elected to the school board, and by the way, what happened to your pious devotion to local control?) to Right to Work (go ahead and spend zillions of dollars on slick ads promising jobs, but everyone knows this is all about hardball politics and Republicans weakening the unions because they have the votes), our elected Representatives have spent the session giving the middle finger to the citizens of Indiana.

As if they hadn’t done enough harm, they have now killed the bill that would have allowed Indianapolis to hold a referendum on whether to tax ourselves to support adequate public transportation.

Think about this. These are the lawmakers who’ve been pontificating about the importance of job creation–that’s how they’ve justified Right to Work, which–according to unbiased research–has absolutely no effect on job creation. Good public transportation, on the other hand, is a proven job creator and economic development generator.

So why the hypocrisy? Why deny the citizens of Indianapolis the right to decide for ourselves whether we are willing to pay a few extra bucks on our tax bill for decent transportation?

It is galling enough that we have to go hat in hand to the State for permission to conduct our own business. It is absolutely infuriating that the legislators whose rural districts survive by virtue of taxes generated in central Indiana–the state sales and income taxes that come primarily from the urban areas they routinely piss on–are the ones willing to kill the goose that lays their golden eggs. Our transportation bill was killed by the very people who would share the benefits without contributing to the costs.

I wish I thought we would throw these bums out in November, but Indiana political history suggests that we will go like sheep to the polls, and vote for the same old same old–after all, these are the candidates who promise to arrest immigrants, keep the “wrong” people from voting, and push gays back into the closet where they belong.

Harrison Ullmann was right: Indiana has The World’s Worst Legislature. But we elected them.


  1. Sheila is always the restrained, soft-spoken lady who eschews hyperbole and exaggeration…

  2. I recall a blogger’s comment once that when McCain selected his running mate all her (the blogger’s) feminist friends were ready to throw themselves out windows. That’s how I felt when I heard the creationism bill passed. Thank you for sharing my rage and frustration and stating it so well. For me it’s just one more reason to continue my out-of-state job search, which would mean closing my small business here and moving on to a state that is more progressive.

  3. To deal with the first point, it’s not OK to teach Creationism on the basis that it is a religious topic, but it is all right to indoctrinate with the unproven ” theory ” of evolution – and it is a theory because from Darwin onward all writers on the subject at first write in speculative language and then jump to with ” may have “, ” possibly “, etc., and having done that jump to their definite conclusions. Of course they try to use the ” found ” missing links none of which stand up to honest scrutiny. But they still hold out for that major piece of conclusive evidence they haven’t found.

    On the rest of the article – yes, the Republicans are despicable in their tactics and hopefully the voters of Indiana will suss them out, but that is as unlike as the proponents of evolution finding concrete evidence to prove their faith based theory. And being faith based it could be concluded that it is a religion and shouldn’t, according to your own stance on the question, be taught in science classes.

  4. That may be, Sheila, but contrarcy jurisprudence may yet develop. I suggest the whole issue be put on the back burner until near the end of Newt’s second term, when he promises a fully functioning (not to mention exceptional) American colony on the moon. Let’s see how the courts there handle the issue in their schools.

  5. Michael A., you misunderstand what “theory” means in science. No scientific principle achieves “theory” status until it has been tested, re-tested, re-re-tested, reviewed, double-checked, triple-checked, and demonstrated to peer-reviewed levels of acceptance that it explains the available evidence. Anything less than that is called a hypothesis. For example, gravity is a theory; the existence of the Higgs bosun particle is a hypothesis.

    Science uses the term “theory” to refer to established, accepted principles (what we lay people would call “facts”) because science must always–always–be open to the possibility that some new data will come along that disproves the theory (or at least calls it into question). Theory means something is proven, yet it hasn’t reached the status of being a law of science that is conclusive and expected to never change (like Newton’s laws of motion).

    Unfortunately, too many scientists may erroneously assume that we lay people understand the terms of art in the world of science, so they don’t explain what a theory is very often. They also use the term loosely, as we all do. That doesn’t help, either.

    This may be the best explanation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_theory

    Finally, Sheila, there is some evidence that teaching cursive is a good thing as it helps brain development in children. Maybe some of our legislators never really learned cursive in grade school. 🙂

  6. As always you have hit the nail on head. But, I will take it one step further, and many of my friends will be angry that I even suggest this, but I put an equal amount of the blame for this embarrassment on Pat Bauer and the state Democratic leadership. We have not had a well run state-wide campaign in more than a decade. We have lost the majority in the state house so we need to suck it up and move on. If we don’t like the majorities agenda then we need to work to get control back or at least narrow their majority so it is necessary to have some civil discourse and find a common ground for the good of the people. Paralyzing the legislative process is not doing any good for anyone. It is making our party look like childish idiots and who would want to vote for them. I want some true leaders to stand up and say “enough is enough” and figure out how to make our state not be a laughing stock.

  7. All of these legislators received more votes than their opponents.

    When you stop hoping the left-wing Republicrats will fix what the right-wing Republicrats mess up, you will have a new focus.

    Join a movement. The labor movement, or occupy Wall Street movement, or civil rights movement, or feminist movement, or populist movement. The day after the next election you will not have to wonder what to do. You will know.

  8. And how about legislating how the national anthem should be sung? I guess Steven Tyler wouldn’t have stood a chance.

  9. Ms. Kennedy….every court since 1962 has found “otherwise” regarding religion in schools. Prior to 1962 and Engel v. Vitale, our government not only allowed, but encouraged the teaching of Christians principles in our public schools. This case was the very first that separated Christian principles from schools. Why does a “jacked-up” 1962 court decision subvert the previous 200 years of successful education. Look what we have now; doesn’t seem like an improvement. Prior to 1960’s the courts defined the word “church” as an actual religious denomination; after the 1960’s our courts now define “church” as “religious activities.” They are very different. Freedom of religion has been turned 180 degrees around. It’s intent is an “institutional separation”, NOT an influential one. I know this is hard to believe, but our Founding Father’s had it right, and our liberal judges have messed it up.

  10. The point, remember the point? Ms. K has so eloquently stated that our state government is out of touch with average voter reality. And yet, these boobs continue to get elected. Did you ever stop to think why people?

Comments are closed.