In a series of sweeping laws enacted in Indiana today, our elected representatives once again abandoned common sense and common good in favor of “What can POSSIBLY go wrong?” legislation aimed at turning our fine state into a live action game of Grand Theft Auto.
The Republicans are playing it fast and loose with the majority they have pretty much everywhere in state and local politics. I’m a lefty, and I’m all for a little spirited debate, but it’s kind of a dick move to crush the constituents who didn’t vote for you under your boot. We’re a two-party system for a reason. It sucks less than a one-party system.
Anyway, not all the laws are ridiculous. One bans texting and driving, one promotes start-ups, and one makes high school athletes with head injuries be cleared by a physician before they can play again. They’re banning the faux weed “incense” sold at gas stations and record stores state wide. The kids have names for it, but I feel old and stupid when I type them. This is likely a good thing. On the other hand, a lot more Hoosiers stand to be unemployed soon, and in parts of the state, there isn’t much else to do. Those folks will return to the real stuff, and then lose their UI benefits when they can’t pass the newly minted requirement to piss test everybody who gets unemployment.
7500 of our poorest students will be getting private school vouchers, but hopefully they’ll pay attention to the crosswalk lights on the way to their new schools, because Hoosier pedestrians no longer have the right of way without the crosswalk. Going to school every day will be an even better idea than it is today, because it’s one of the few places in Indiana where it’s still illegal to carry a gun. Along with courthouses, prisons and hospitals. So plenty of brand new and unarmed parents can welcome new babies, because it’s the law to tell women considering abortion that life begins at fertilization.
The inevitable immigration related laws hold businesses accountable for hiring U.S. citizens, and requires college students to prove citizenship to receive certain benefits. So, we’ve got drugs, entrepreneurs, public safety, unemployment benefits, abortion, traffic, guns and immigration, in a time when we really need a lot more jobs. Helping college kids build start-ups might bring us some jobs down the line, but nothing else on the table addresses Indiana’s real problems. Drug testing unemployment recipients alone is going to cost an astronomical amount of taxpayer money. We can’t get our public schools enough textbooks for every kid, but we can buy piss tests for 8-10% of the population? Our neighborhoods are crumbling around houses that dropped 70% in value and we need to make it harder to get an abortion? Our upcoming economic Hail Mary, the Superbowl, might not happen because of the NFL strike, and you’re making it easier for people to shoot each other? What the hopping hell, Indiana. We’re supposed to be smarter, and kinder, than this.
So as we swing into beer, barbeque and fireworks weekend here in Indiana, with our gun-toting, SUV-driving, broke, angry and unemployed neighbors, we’re hoping for the best.