Wednesday, June 20, 2007
IN MY OPINION (Column)
Stop the Profanity — Send ‘Em on a Junket
By JON COUPAL
There is a new controversy in the California Legislature that is monopolizing the time of lawmakers.
Is it the looming budget deficit? No. Is it the need to expand prisons to house criminals? No. Is it an effort to address our transportation woes? “Hell” no.
The flap is over the use of the word “hell” on the Senate floor.
It seems that during a debate over one of the numerous “nanny” bills that preoccupy many of our representatives, Senator Tom McClintock asked a colleague with a new plan to control citizens’ lives, “Who the hell are you,” to impose your lifestyle choices on others.
Several sensitive senators became discomfited and began to wring their hands over the use of what they perceived to be “profane” and impolite language on the floor of the Senate.
However, the parliamentarian ruled McClintock’s remarks were not profane. And as McClintock pointed out, if the word “hell” is good enough for church, why should it be banned in the Senate?
Nevertheless, in a legislature that has been preoccupied with such issues as banning parents from spanking their children, this language issue will, no doubt, draw a great deal of time and attention from lawmakers.
As taxpayer advocates, we are much less concerned about the use of the word “hell” on the Senate floor than we are about the multitude of profanities that emanate from legislators in both sides of the capitol.
These profanities are the scores of introduced bills that increase the burden on already beleaguered taxpayers. Some of these are designed to directly raise taxes, fees and charges that the public must pay. Others provide an indirect levy by dictating how and what people can drive, how they light their homes, and generally how they conduct their lives.
However, perhaps McClintock is showing us how to put a halt to, or at least slow, government intrusion into our lives. By sidetracking our big government Legislature into debating and posturing over such piffle as the use of the word “hell,” Tom has effectively tied up in knots the entire body of big-spending nannies. What we need is more such irrelevant issues to be endlessly discussed by our elected officials. This is a good thing!
Let’s encourage more such nonsense. For instance, lawmakers should be urged to reconsider Assemblywoman Sally Lieber’s ban on spanking. This should keep them busy for several weeks.
Then there is Paris Hilton. Inquiring minds of legislators should be turned to evaluating her problems, her treatment by the justice system and the press, and all the associated “fairness” issues.
The legislature’s compulsion to continuously designate all the days, weeks and months as special — issuing proclamations honoring just about everybody and everything — is hands down the most harmless activity they do. Perhaps they should be designating each hour!
If these issues are not sufficient to take up the rest of the legislative session, just ask us — we’ll come up with more.
Next, we need to address the long-term solution to neutralizing these meddling officials. Next year, let’s add to the list of check-offs for “good causes” on our tax return forms, a box so that each taxpayer can donate a dollar to go toward junkets for elected officials.
Believe us, we will more than recoup our investment. By keeping members of the Senate and Assembly traveling full time, they will have no time for legislating. That would be a “hell” of a lot cheaper than maintaining these intrusive busybodies in Sacramento, legislating away our freedoms and earnings.
As a 19th century judge once said (with apologies to feminists), “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.”
Copyright 2007, Metropolitan News Company