This morning I read that the appropriately named Wendy Nanney, House representative from Greenville, had introduced a bill that would require bicyclists and moped operators to be licensed and insured. "Hmph," I muttered, there goes Mama Nanney again. I gave a wee bit of thought to what a boondoggle that would be for the insurance industry, one of the groups that our legislators take good care of here in South Carolina, and then went on to other matters.
Hours later the headline in The State informed that after great protest, Nanney had withdrawn the bill.
Now, let's back up a little here. Wendy Nanney is the legislator that is pursuing with no less than religious zeal the bill that would prohibit abortions after twenty weeks. She has brought all the power that the Bible and bad science can bear, and many of her partners in crime lined up to co-sponsor the bill. It mattered not that scientists had proven that the "facts" of her bill were wrong. And she cared not that women's health and medical care were being invaded and compromised by the requirements of the bill. Wendy was out to save "lives."
Yet, when she looked out on the street and saw that bicyclists were being careless, and decided that it was her duty to write a law forcing them to, well, take a course and then pay for a license, there was such an outcry that she dropped the cause immediately.
So why are some "lives" more expendable than others? Why would a woman making decisions about her own body be so much more important than a cyclist riding in a way that endangers themselves and puts others at risk? In fact, Nanney points out that her bill would only require licensing for those fifteen or older.
Please, please explain to me why a child would not need the safety precautions that an adult cyclists requires??? This makes about as much sense as requiring a woman whose pregnancy is at risk to carry the pregnancy to term, while not making health care available for all pregnant women.
I worry about the mental health of many of our legislators. It seems that they work so hard to prove their worth that their judgment fails. And then they are rewarded with way too much power over us.
I also wonder that the Palmetto Cycling Coalition has more political clout than groups like the ACLU and the National Organization for Women.
Or it may be something else entirely. After all, the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association was quiet while a bill was passed allowing guns in bars and restaurants. While they claim that was because owners were split on whether they were in favor of the bill, many owners say they were not made aware of the bill. Of course, the NRA has more clout with legislators than both the Restaurant and Lodging Association and the Palmetto Cycling Coalition (and throw in NOW and the ACLU).
Which must make you want to ask who has so much clout that Nanney and her buddies would tirelessly pursue abortion bans and personhood bills?
As with the NRA, we need to follow the money. It's not the right-to-life groups, really, that are keeping these horrible bills afloat, year after year. They are merely the very loud and committed spokespeople. They are being controlled by groups like the NRA, groups like the American Enterprise Institute, groups run by Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers. It may not seem like they are being controlled; maybe it is really just the Partnership from Hell. But it amounts to the same thing.
The people with the money and power, who stand to lose some of that money and power if we unite against issues like living wage and health care, have learned that they can get followers to rise up and pledge their support for the candidates who will further their power agenda. All they have to do is create a smokescreen of "moral issues." Nixon did it with his "law and order" campaign. Reagan's handlers realized that there were millions who could be turned to their advantage by pretending that the quest for power was a religious quest.
And today we have anti-abortion groups, anti-gay groups, anti-Moslem groups, all working to foment fear. They support the candidates (and the candidates support them) so that none of us can muster the strength or the dollars to fight the people who control the country: big agriculture, pharmaceuticals, oil, Wall Street. Fortunately for bicyclists, Wendy Nanney didn't think their lives were important enough to turn into a cause.