Thursday, June 5, 2014

Honoring Our Legislators

As the clown car pulls out of the Columbia station, I think we should all take a few moments to reflect on what I believe has been a year of astounding idiocy.

For example, who can ever get enough state symbols?  Whenever we start to think there is nothing our legislators can agree on, we can always turn to choosing another state symbol.  But wait!  This year, we managed to turn a simple request to recognize the Columbian mammoth as state fossil into a battlefield.  Just as we keep fighting the Civil War, this was yet another chapter of science versus the bible.  Senator Kevin Bryant added an amendment that referred to the animal "as created on the sixth day with the beasts of the field."  Not to be outdone, Senator Mike Fair then put a block on the bill based on his failure to grasp the theory of natural selection.  These religious objections and aimless incursions into the realms of science are just another day of governing down here;  my favorite objection, however, is that we have just too darned many state symbols.

Anyway, my personal opinion about the state symbol debate is that the more time they spend arguing about state-whatevers, the less time they have to do real damage.  Like the way they mangled attempts to legalize medical marijuana.  Our moral mediocrity members, by way of protecting us from relief of pain in our illnesses, whittled down what should have been a simple bill by creating complexities that Obamacare drafters could only have written in their dreams.  Talking out of the other side of the mouths that they use to spout stuff about individual freedom, our legislators showed their concern that we not succumb to the evils of the wicked weed by narrowing the type of oil, its point of origin, the specific type of research, and I believe the hours of the day and days of the month it can be accessed.  And probably a dozen or more other stipulations that will keep that plant out of the hands of those in need.

But no prizes to those who worked hard to make the bill meaningless; it's been done already.  Right here in South Carolina, in 1980, the South Carolina Controlled Substances and Research Act had so many inclusions and exclusions that it has never actually been used.  Not once.  While we wait another 35 years for the next attempt at a law that would actually allow people to use medicinal marijuana, we'll just have to keep relying on that oxycodone, the stuff that will get you high and addicted, while PhRMA gets ever richer.  Hey, it's legal.

Well, that was a little too heavy for a clown car award, especially if you start to think about the people you know who experience chronic pain, and/or the drug dependency and side effects of oxy use.  So I'm not even going to talk about Wendy Nanney's work to become god's crusader for exposing (and controlling) women's medical decisions.  But Wendy did give us a lighter moment.

It seems she was driving home one day and noticed a bicyclist do something dangerous.  And in the time it took her to get where she was going, she had devised a bill that would require licensing and classes for cyclists.  Except that the minute it went public, and to her surprise and consternation, friends of hers in the bicycling community were up in arms; two hours later, the bill went down.  Wendy defended her bill by saying that it wasn't really about big government; only those over 15 years old would have to be licensed.

Now this to me is proof that Wendy sincerely cares about life before birth and after age fifteen.  Any life falling in between is on its own.

Wendy Nanney -- You have to be this tall to be required to get a bicycle license.
Another heated battle that should not have been was about whether to bring sex ed into the twenty-first century, which for some of our legislators would have been too much too soon, as we never actually made it all the way into the twentieth century.  Mike Fair, staunch defender of his own religious distortions, sees no need to bring any education, much less sex education, up to the level of "medically accurate."  Seems to me he was back there complaining that "minimally adequate" was too high a standard for educating our children.

The problem may just be that Mike is uncomfortable with the thought that these young kids might end up knowing more than he does.  So after months of serious legislators, organizations and constituents fighting to get it to the point of passage, he put a block on the bill.   Proving that one idiot can move an entire Senate, and in fact, an entire state -- backwards.

In the final minutes of debate on another bill which attempts to provide much needed awareness to our children, one senator wakes up and rises to ask, "Why are we teaching sexual awareness to our four-year-olds?"  The sponsor of the bill informs him that it is not "sexual awareness" but "sexual abuse awareness."  Watching this debate, a wise friend commented, "Forget the kids; our legislators need sex ed."

And so it goes; another year down the tubes.  If it's any consolation, these guys did approve a raise for themselves.  Might be coming out of the savings from denying people food stamps and Medicaid, but it will be well worth it to keep these idiots off the street.

If you have a favorite moment from this year in South Carolina's legislature, please leave a comment and share it with us all.  Sometimes you just gotta laugh.

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