Monday, August 22, 2005

Notes From My Knapsack 8-28-05

Criminal Stupidity?

Summer’s end is a good time for one last foolish, reckless fling at good sense. Haven’t eaten two elephant ears in a row? Now or never…Ride the spinning deathtrap that always makes you nauseous, but might not this time…why not?
And those two words fraught with potential and peril: road trip.
Even if you don’t have kids in school, Labor Day weekend marks a watershed and closes a chapter, which makes some of us scribble hurriedly to enter a few more episodes in the Book o’ Life before the Great Pageturner moves on to a slower paced period.
All Nature shows the signs of weariness, though, with all this growth and life and energy. Leaves begin to crinkle around the edges, yellow starts to tint the greens from skyline to lawn’s edge, and the grass itself is browning and going dormant. Plants and tree limbs sag with the damp weight of overgrowth, and the tomato vine, neatly plucked of fruit by the ever-helpful deer (who actually ate pieces out of the Irish Spring bars of soap around the edge), are twining into incomprehensible snarls of foliage.
Flashlight beams are looking tan and amber (replace ‘em soon, before winter!), toys with batteries are winding down into slo-mo, and even the Little Guy’s flashing red light sandals only flicker on one foot, the other having frozen on and then faded to black after three days of steady shining. Broken handled toy shovels and cracked pails and jagged-edged pieces of once beloved plastic have quietly slid into the trashcan the night before pickup.
For media and politics, where fun in the water and play on the sidewalks rarely enters the equation – which may be what ails them, come to think on it – the month of August is famously or infamously a prime "silly season." Filling the front page, writing a compelling editorial, or getting voters to listen without handing out free fans are all big challenges, which can be met in a variety of goofy ways.
Regular readers of this column know that your scrivener is no fan of Bob Taft. I’ve been long underwhelmed, and since his turn of phrase "Medicaid monster" in a State of the State address, I’ve been actively disgusted by him. Medicaid as a budget item is certainly a problem, and a public servant needs to help us understand who these fellow citizens are, that we care for and heal at an ever growing percentage of the state budget. Literally demonizing them and the situation is demagoguery of the worst sort. ‘Nuff said on that.
So having established that I think our governor is deeply and sadly unfit for office, may I ask, in the spirit of summer hyperbole, what was he doing in court?
This may just further point out my own unfitness for public office, but why is an ethics violation a criminal matter? Really, is that what we want judges and the court system tied up with?
Again, I heartily agree with Sen. Jay Hottinger and his call for Taft’s resignation; but criminal charges? Who wrote that as a law, a legal matter, anyhow?
Ethics guidelines, reporting, and broad disclosure of the sort that was a gift from the heavens for news starved metro editors: Taft playing golf frequently in the toniest surroundings with developers and, um, coin dealers etc. Embarrass the man no end, make it easy for you and me to see the details, and let the political process work. In other words, vote da bums out.
But I didn’t see why Martha Stewart went to lockup and is still wearing an ankle bracelet, or why the Watergate clowns went to prison either (it just made martyrs out of some of them, which a few are still riding to this day), and I can’t understand why a judge had to spend time on this. Serious it was, as Yoda would say, but criminal it is not.
If we’re gonna make stupidity criminal, the jails will be a’buildin’ right through the next millenium, and they still won’t be big enough to hold all the convicts.
I want judges and the court system prosecuting crime and fraud and corruption (stay tuned, Taft may yet make it into court for perfectly sound reasons at the rate he’s going), and I want us to vote goofs out of office or party leaders to show some leadership when a good looking candidate turns out to be a crummy officeholder.
And that’s my overheated summertime rant for the day! Next, back to school follies and everyday foibles. See you in a week…

Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and supply preacher around central Ohio; get your last overheated rant in to

No comments:

Post a Comment