And We Wonder Why People Don’t Vote…

Can you spell Glenda Ritz?

Per the Indianapolis Star,

A bill that would result in the ousting of Glenda Ritz as the chair of the Indiana State Board of Education passed the House on Tuesday, moving a step closer to becoming a law….

The bill, which the House passed by a 56-41 vote, marks the latest blow to Ritz’s authority over education in Indiana.

Here’s the thing: I don’t know whether Ritz is competent or a complete doofus–and it doesn’t matter.  Indiana voters elected her. By a substantial margin. She got significantly more votes than Governor Pence (who, I note in passing, has shown himself to be a complete doofus without engendering legislation stripping him of his position).

Ritz’s election annoyed the arrogant Super Majority in our embarrassing, hyper-partisan and tone-deaf legislature. So they decided to reverse the election results and neuter her–and to symbolically spit on everyone who had voted for her. Because they could.

Let’s see: so far this session, the Governor and legislature have undermined thirty years of civic effort to sell Indiana as a welcoming place to live, turned down federal money that would have benefitted poor preschool children, created a “news bureau” that became a national laughingstock before being ignominiously abandoned, voted against use of the Common Construction wage (ignoring warnings by construction company owners and workers alike that the move will cost Indiana jobs), sent a “FU” message to the EPA….the list goes on.

We can only hope the General Assembly goes home before it can help the Governor do more damage.

Meanwhile, Hoosiers who support teachers, contractors, the environment, civil rights for LGBT folks, a free press and/or that pesky thing called democracy need to figure out how to make our votes count–and stick–in future elections.


  1. There was a time when Indian was progressive. We were the first to envision a massive transportation system (which failed due to partisanship), we were leaders in publishing and urbanization. Now we are the backwater.

    I am sickened by the way we have been represented in our own legislature. Yet, we have nobody else to blame but ourselves.

    I will try to do more to let people know what I really think.

  2. The GOP hates big government except when it’s their big government. Before they are finished they will have re-engineered our entire social structure, without having a clue about the consequences.

  3. I also heard that tucked away in the budget bill the Education Roundtable is being abandon supposedly because it hasn’t been convened for awhile. But as it’s co-chaired by the Governor and the Superintendent, I suspect the main reason is to also diminish Ritz’s authority and not to have to listen to any differing view points.

  4. What the legislature has done to public education will do the most long-term damage to our state. Pence and his minions in the legislature have turned a half-century of good governance into a national joke.
    Then we have the headlines warning that projected tax revenues are going down and will require more cuts to the budget, but we have $2M to spend on our broken image. All while the legislature moves to repeal the common wage law, jeopardizing good paying jobs state-wide.
    And nobody has mentioned the BMV lately. How many more people got robbed in that mess and how will they be repaid?
    And then we are told that more than 40% of us APPROVE of Pence’s job performance. If we were a company being run this poorly, we would out of business in no time.
    But, rest assured, the insiders who have put these incompetent people in office will make out just fine on the taxpayers’ dime as the privatization contracts, vouchers, charter schools, etc., keep the money rolling in.
    If I sound cynical, it is because I am, more so every day. When the voters’ will is arrogantly ignored and there is almost no consequences because the thieves still have so much approval, things are not going to change. They have theirs and screw the rest of us. Voting appears to mean nothing these days. Gerrymandering has made it so. We are headed to oligarchy on a steep slippery slide.

  5. I’m at a loss for solutions to this problem. Gerrymandering is a big cause, but I can’t see those who benefit from it doing anything to undo it. Even if there was a huge public push to establish a non-partisan redistricting system, the beneficiaries of our current system would find ways to kill any legislation.

    The only thing that might work (as in it is possible, but extremely unlikely) would be a huge, huge campaign effort by the Indiana Democratic Party. The party would have to say to all voters, “Gerrymandering has made our state a mess. We pledge to eliminate gerrymandering via an independent, non-partisan system. But we need loyal Republicans to cross over this one time to elect people willing to do it.”

    Sadly, though, too many people will (probably correctly) say, “Right—and once you Ds take control you’re not going to give it up.”

    Nope, we need to get the establishment Republicans to take control of their party again. Those of us on the outside can’t do it.

  6. It is the Smoke and Mirrors that our Legislature and Governor engages in. Gerrymander the Districts, appeal to the Bible Thumpers, and Anti Big Government Groups so you can win the Primary and the General Election. The real agenda is the one ALEC, the Koch Bros, and other members of the shadow government provide them with.

    The desired end result is: Anything that impedes the Profits of a select favored few must be philosophically wrong – Clean Air, Clean Water, Regulations and Labor Rights, impedes Profits and must eliminated. It is simply not enough to De-Regulate. Any potential opposition must be stamped out or rendered impotent.

    Progressives could stage a come back, but it will be long road with set backs and defeats.

  7. Brian Bosma is predicting that we, the voters, will forget all of this before the next election. That must not happen!

  8. Karen: The republicans’ opponents can not let this happen. However, their message must be carefully delivered to minimize any perceived partisan slant. They need to stay on message and not succumb to the inevitable baiting from republican candidates to engage them in a philosophical debate about liberals and big government. The message has to be that the republicans have harmed the state and most of the people who live here, when they had the opportunity and the votes to do so much more that could have benefited so many.

  9. While the room is full of villians the kingpin is the conservative meme spread virally by mass media and used by the mega wealthy to pursue the few dollars that they don’t already have. The bible thumpers and others committed to spreading ignorance are merely rube minions responding to oligarchy’s seduction. The part of society most easily trained through mass media.

    The oligarchs can’t be prevented from brainwashing and rubes can’t be educated beyond their capabilities, and the media can’t be censored so there is only one solution. Castrate political campaigning. Make it illegal. Empower only public funded public debate between candidates at a frequency dependant on the office.

    Let the rubes return to devoting their attention back to revival tents and evangelist, sports, and entertainment celebrities.

    Before its too late.

  10. It’s dillema. Democracy depends on education. Education depends on democracy. They rise and fall together and that’s why those who believe that wealth entitles power, the oligarchs, believe that the path to obscuring their intentions is through attacking education and celebrating ignorance.

  11. (Who was it that warned of the “tyranny of the majority”?)

    Probably, Marcus Tullius Cicero. Who also said:

    Mistakes mankind keeps making century after century,
    Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others.

  12. “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” published in 1776 by Adam Smith has a modern translation. “Don’t Inquire into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth That’s Mine”.

    Perfect for the Me generation.

  13. Paula, I agree with you. I live in Hendricks County and I don’t believe there has been a Democrat on my voting ticket for years. The few people I have spoken to who are Democrats and have tried to run receive zero help from the Democratic Party even after requesting help several times. They were even told that they will not bother helping in my ‘neck of the woods’. This doesn’t really inspire Democrats in some of these stronghold counties to run when they ask for assistance or guidance and receive nothing.

  14. No comments from me are really necessary Sheila – you nailed it!!!! One thing though, this is the most pitiful version of Indiana state government that I have seen in my lifetime and some how, some way, the anger that is felt right now has to be turned into a credible effort to find, select and support candidates that can ultimately unseat these rubes for the good of the whole state, including those that elected these people to office in the first place.

  15. Does Indiana allow direct ballot measures? That’s the only way this can be fixed in the short term. In the long term, the idiots are all dead, but given the propensity of Republicans to isolate themselves, new idiots could be elected.

  16. RN; all I can say about your situation in Hendricks County is to vote for all Democrats on your ballots every election day. Enough elected Democrats throughout the state could/would push for Democrats to slate and support candidates in your county. We are in a civil war; again Republicans vs Democrats and our freedom and the union is at stake. As much as I hate to say it; that means vote for Donnelly again if there is no one else to run. My cousin and an old friend from grade schoool live in Hendricks County; both staunch Republicans, the friend dropped me after I, in a very nice way, corrected misconceptions and lies about President Obama. My cousin began deleting even personal messages without reading them; they cannot be reached, they would vote for Charles Manson if he ran as a Republican.

    Not voting is not an option; a heated conversation with a dear friend on Monday was disheartening. He campaigned for Obama, posts political messages on Facebook against the ugly actions of Republicans, postive posts for Democrats and supports the Democratic party and accused me of hanging onto the past when I tried to explain that Goldsmith began what we are dealing with in Indiana today; his cronies work for Daniels, Pence and Ballard. It is a continuation of using his privatization/outsourcing, bigoted tactics. Goldsmith was nice to my friend once years ago, making him untouchable; trying to explain the connection to what is happening today, I was told I was upsetting my friend’s inner peace as a Buddhist. As long as he continues to vote Democratic, I will leave his inner peace alone:)

  17. There is a factor unmentioned in this dialog: Indiana and Indianapolis has a very dis-functional Democratic Party. In fact, it is a joke. They sat on their hands and let Lugar be defeated because they want to hold on to what little crumb the GOP tosses their way. When the opportunity opened, what did they do? Look what they put in Lugar’s seat; another DINO!

  18. I understand that Brian Bosma believes all these issues will blow over and people will forget them in the next election cycle. I think I have some bad news for Mr. Bosma. The teachers have very good memories, and it’s not a good idea to grind into the mud the best educated, most connected and most distributed people in a state. Remember what happened to Tony Bennett. Ritz had hardly any money and little advertising, while Bennett had the Koch family, but some people think they are just too smart to be defeated. Like the political operative said, “The jungle drums are beating”. I suspect the same goes for the construction workers and some other groups we can think of. 2016 is an event waiting to happen. It’s like this legislature wanted to be remembered in a book, in which the past few months have been part one.

  19. Thank you Earl Kennedy – you’re absolutely right. They hitched their star to Evan Bayh and when he turned out not to be the ‘man on the white horse’ they thought he was they essentially fell apart as a political force. They are weak, mirroring the national Democratic party who can’t seem to mount any semblance of a coherent push back on the national level . John Gregg came pretty close in 2012 but they have no where near the resources that Pence and his buddies have for the long hall. It might be that the GOP has to take its own party back in this state instead of any credible Democratic effort materializing to do it which would be a real longshot although there are reports, largely from Hovey, that the State GOP Committee is about ready to hand grenade over what has happened with our Governor and the Legislature gumming up the works. Some way, some how, this super-majority has to be pierced and any gaff they commit between now and the primaries in 2016 needs to be exploited for all its worth. Several people have made the comment, or variations of it, that the Governor and the Legislature have this state on a race to the bottom. What we all have to do is find a way to keep it from crashing and burning when it gets there although things may have to get to that point before any credible effort toward ending the death grip they have on things is successful in shaking it loose.

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