Unwilling to Engage

A Facebook friend who has been following the twists, turns and votes on HJR 3 has reported on the defensive behavior of Representative Dave Ober, one of the “yes” votes for that measure.

Apparently, Rep. Ober is unwilling to engage in discussion about his position or his vote–according to my correspondent, he has “de-friended” people posting  contrary positions, no matter how respectfully, eliminated critical posts from his official Facebook page, and refused to defend or even discuss his vote.

Ober isn’t the only legislator hiding from public debate and scrutiny: when a reporter friend of mine asked for an accounting of the letters and emails generated by the HJR 3 debate, she was told that the Freedom of Information Act doesn’t apply to the legislature, and they didn’t have to respond.

Now, there might be an excuse for refusing to supply the contents of legislative emails; there really is no reason–other than potential embarrassment–for refusing to tell the media how many communications were received pro and con. ( Why do I suspect that if letters supporting HJR 3 had outnumbered those against, they’d have complied?) As it is, the legislative response to legitimate inquiries can be summarized as a collective “go *** yourself.”

Can we spell “arrogant”?

The next time one of these self-important lawmakers pontificates about how he’s “doing the people’s business,” someone should remind him that the people have a right to know how their business is being conducted, and whether the measures being passed are consistent with the people’s expressed policy preferences.

Theoretically, democracy is supposed to work like this: we elect folks, watch how they behave, and subsequently vote to retain or reject them based upon that behavior. When those we elect opt to game the system, refuse to defend their reasoning, and generally take the position that they aren’t answerable to those who elected them, it’s time to clean House.

And Senate.


  1. They don’t care because they don’t have to care. They’ve gerrymandered themselves in so tight and comfy not only do they not have to answer our questions they don’t have to answer for their votes.

  2. Ober is a prime example of homophobia in a position of power. I can only wonder what causes his overt fear of this subject; regarding the most personal area of lives of total strangers. De-friending those who post oppositional comments and his refusal to “engage” in intelligent conversations on this subject proves to me he has no basis for his stand. None of them do; homophobia and pseudo-religious Bible references prove a lack of knowledge on this subject. They have no original thoughts and know as much about the lives of LGBT residents in this city and state as the do about women’s anatomy – which they also control from their lofty positions. They are charter members of the flat-earth society.

  3. I continue to be baffled by politicians’ blatant waste of taxpayers’ dollars over this topic. I’m surprised they don’t begin legislation to halt bi-racial marriages. People like to use the word “homophobia.” I’m not sure what they’re afraid of…perhaps it’s their own latent desires to participate in homosexual acts. All too often, we see those who speak loudest against same-sex marriage, arrested for bathroom-stall activities, hiring male prostitutes, or public park encounters. At any rate, I know same-sex couples who have been together longer than heterosexual marriages. I don’t think those same-sex relationships were the demise of the heterosexual marriages. I think the spouses were the failure in the marriage. Is there a word for fear of politicians? Poliphobic?

  4. The GOP seeks to protect is from some mythical “Nanny State,” all the while subjecting us to a the sexual restrictions of hysterical Puritans.

    I can’t see what business gay–or straight–marriage is to anyone or how the state would be harmed by gay people having the privileges I enjoy.

    The GOP refuses to engage in an open debate. They know their only argument is: Blah blah blah traditional marriage blah blah we’re a Christian nation. And ours would be: There shall be established no state religion-and that includes you, our evangelical masters.

  5. I joked that when I left Missouri, I was leaving the ridiculousness behind. After living here for about six months, I realize I was wrong–but only a little; Missouri likes to compete in Legislative head shaking…

    Which brings me to my point of posting–this was just in Missouri news today, and I’d love to hear your thoughts. While MO is a conservative state (with an actual ban on gay marriage in their constitution) it does has a Democrat Governor and AG. To say the legislature butt heads with the two is a bit of an understatement…

    An article which covers the most recent disagreement is: http://www.missourinet.com/2014/02/06/two-articles-of-impeachment-filed-against-governor-nixon-audiocopy-of-the-articles/

    But essentially, Gov. Nixon has decided to allow same-sex couples (married in other states) to file a joint state tax return (as they would be filing jointly to the federal government), and there have been articles of impeachment filed against him for violating Missouri constitution…

  6. Please excuse the length of this post, but I thought it was worth passing along. The state senator for my district is SCOTT SCHNEIDER. In all instances, when he was contacted by email by me, he has responded with the following canned answer:
    “Thank you for contacting my office regarding Indiana’s proposed marriage amendment. This is an important issue that has been set before the General Assembly and I appreciate your input. As you know, there has been much discussion across our country about the definition of marriage and it’s my hope the debate in Indiana can proceed with mutual respect on all sides of the issue.
    Simply put, I support the General Assembly passing the amendment this year and sending it to voters for an up or down vote because I believe that Hoosiers – not the courts and not activists – should decide the definition of marriage in Indiana. I see a vote in the General Assembly in favor of Indiana’s marriage amendment as a vote in favor of letting the people have a direct say that they otherwise would not have. I have every expectation that the legislative debate will be intense, but this is an important issue that merits a careful examination of all perspectives.
    I hope this clarifies my position. ”
    This response is so insulting to my intelligence in so many ways that words fail me.

  7. Exactly what’s the legal authority that exempts legislative e-mails from the public records laws? There was an attempt to do so in 2001, but it was vetoed by the Governor. Did it sneak back in since then, or are they just hoping that nobody noticed?

  8. Like with Tony Bennett, where the scandal was discovered in the emails, I think there are many government types who are so arrogant and foolish that they believe their emails are sacrosanct and that nobody could touch them or are smart enough to ask the right (wrong?) questions. One day, people will make a lot of interesting discoveries about a governor and his gang, along with a bunch of legislators found to be taking bribes, making deals, hitting on people and the rest in their emails. Indiana doesn’t usually present much of an opportunity for many people, but what an opportunity it will be for an investigative reporter! We’re talking Pulitzer level opportunities, here.

  9. JD, while the guy was honest enough to tell you that your opinion really didn’t count with him, it also tells a lot about what a politician he is not, while also telling us what a rigid ideologue he is. This guy knew how he was going to vote on all issues the day he took the oath of office, and no evidence, data or public opinion was going to change any of that. This guy is on a mission, and his coat of arms might as well have lemmings and a cliff on it. We do not need this kind of person any place where people need to carefully deliberate and make decisions that serve the common good. He would be just fine doing what he is told in a job that doesn’t require too many cognitive skills. Somehow, the public needs to really learn about who these people are and just how dangerous they are to a democracy that needs smart people who want to learn and prepare a good future for this place.

  10. I have yet to hear from my Representative which is odd as I always get a response (Steuerwald). He was going to vote in favor per an IndyStar article when it reached the floor (Remember he was the chairman of the first committee). He was absent on the day of the vote and a friend at the SH says he hurt himself and so I guess I will really never know how he was going to vote.

    I did get a ‘canned statement’ from Senator Young…got your msg, thanks for contacting…blah, blah.

    They know exactly how many calls and emails they received either ‘pro’ or ‘con’ on HJR 3 and while they may not share all the emails they can give the number. I swear, I think my eyes are going to get stuck at the top of my head for all the eye rolling I do on our legislature.

  11. I would suspect more than a few of our Legislators and the Governor find the Creation Museum as the final word on the origin of Life. There is no reasoning with these Bible Thumpers. They try every way possible to interject their Religion into Law. When they were defeated on teaching biblical account of creation in public schools, they came up with Intelligent Design. Failing again, the Thumpers came up with teach the controversy that Evolution has not filled in the all the gaps in the fossil record. If they want to place the Ten Commandments on Public Land it is now a Free Speech issue.

    Same sex marriage is attacked by some as being against Religious Teachings or the fall back position of it’s not “Traditional Marriage.” Even Civil Unions would not be permitted by the Thumpers. Bottom line is their Personal Religious Beliefs are their trump card, although they may not want to say that.

  12. Whether the issue is same-sex marriage, abortion rights, returning cursive writing to school curriculum or the right to vote, Abraham Lincoln’s “House Divided” speech should be required reading for all Republicans. I just watched that old movie, “Abe Lincoln In Illinois” and as he was making this speech I realized just how far from the original Republican platform the current GOP has fallen. The speech was made on June 16, 1858, during the final Lincoln/Douglas debate; Abraham Lincoln had no doubts as to whose human rights the Constitution protected and stated so eloquently and referred to a number of these rights. The Republican party also lacks Lincoln’s down-home sense of humor and his rapier wit; although they have given me a few laughs, however rueful, in recent years with their version of the Constituion and the Amendments. Of course, the title given to this speech, and his statement that a “house divided against itself cannot stand.” is evidenced today in the Bible-thumping power plays the GOP dumps on us daily. Although Abraham Lincoln was a Republican and our first Republican president, we would all benefit by reading this speech and taking it’s full meaning to heart.

    By the way; I also get those form letters via E-mail, have tried to unsubscribe even though I didn’t subscribe to them, they keep on coming. Freedom of speech to the extreme!

  13. Ironically, the “house divided” idea was originally not Abe Lincoln, but Jesus, quoted in three places: Matthew 12:25, Mark 3:25 and Luke 11:17.

  14. Ms Kennedy is extremely thoughtful and not given to quick or pat answers to complicated questions or complex issues; therefore, before her blog becomes a virtual mating and incestuous breeding ground for those who believe they’re the “happy holders of the only truth”, perhaps now’s the time to mention my humorous observation of games people play, more specifically, the social or cocktail party game of “Ain’t It Awful”.

  15. Stuart; I did read the Bible verses you quoted, thank you. I think the full verses Matthew 12:25 and Luke 11:17 plus Mark 3:24 and 25 best fit conditions today. Not wanting to become known as a Bible-thumper, but I had to include the references to “..Every kingdom divided…” to best discibe this country and this state today. We are more divided than we have been in decades; again this division is led by the Republican party but for vastly different reasons and all on personal, intrusive, misguided beliefs and their abuse of power today. We are in the midst of a personal Civil War; with issues that are not political or religious but have become legal matters, distracting us from the true issues that need to be addressed on national and state levels. Budget, deficit, health, education, military, jobs, outsourcing American jobs, maintaining home-ownership; and the list goes on. Who is sleeping with who or wants to marry, women’s most personal health options, the blame-game has become a media event…we could not be more divided between political parties, family against family, friend against friend – familiar conditions during the Civil War and Viet Nam War. I suppose we can include the war in Iraq but to a lesser degree. My point is; we need to come together to maintain this country as a whole just as President Lincoln worked and died for preserving the Union. President Obama’s “Audacity of Hope” was to once again see the elected officials of this country come together at the bargaining table and find solutions to the problems. The problem with HJR 3 is that it is based on the personal feelings of the Tea Party factor; led by the GOP, Bosma and the Indiana House of Representatives misguided use of power. Indiana, the buckle of the Bible-belt, needs to read the Indiana Constitution to better understand whose rights are protected and the limits on their power to change or disregard them.

  16. If citizens were allowed to vote on civil rights, we’d still have legal slavery and child labor. We’d still have women not voting and not able to work for a living. America used to be a progressive country until these bible thumpers (that label is so true) got a voice. We need to shut them down, shut them up and make them the minority again. This is what makes this country great. Freedom for one and all.

    Too bad if you’re gay.

    See that’s just so simple to solve too.

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