HARBESON: My reaction to Stemler’s action
> SOUTHERN INDIANA — I’ve been watching the accolades pile up for State Rep. Steve Stemler in support of his decision not to walk out with his fellow Democrats.
Locally, Stemler has always had a fair amount of people from both major parties stroking his belly and scratching his ears. But in reality, he’s just another political animal making calculated maneuvers.
Why would Stemler walk out when he’s been working his tail off to gain the favor of Republicans? He learned so well how to roll over to gain their attention that he’s managed to get them to throw him quite the bone: A committee chairmanship.
Apparently, handing out a committee chairmanship to a politician in the opposing party has never been done in the history of the state. So tell me, if you received such a coveted treat, are you going to just ignore that chewy bone and go romp in the junkyard with the other dogs?
Stemler, of Jeffersonville, knows exactly what he’s doing, just like the other Democrat who gained a chairmanship, Rep. Chet Dobis.
Rep. Dobis came up with a slightly different calculation, though, because he did walk out. But according to the Northwest Indiana Times, he did not leave the state to join his party. He just went home to frolic in the fields for a while.
Both men were already not in particularly good standing with the party they used to get elected. Dobis hasn’t attended a party caucus in a year, and according to Jim Shella’s political blog, Stemler’s discussions about the committee appointment were kept from House Minority Leader Pat Bauer.
Stemler is doing a masterful job to spin this and, as usual, he speaks in generalities about our great government system. I’ve often noticed how he loves to use words like duty, honor and respect — words that have little meaning in an institution based on force.
Stemler can talk until he’s blue (or red) in the face but what matters are actions. Stemler has given constituents plenty to puzzle over, particularly voters who mistakenly assumed he stood for what are supposed to be considered Democratic Party principles.
For example, he appears to hold a view that it’s important to keep religion out of government actions and says the voucher proposal would likely be challenged because it could lead to government funding of religious institutions.
And yet, he is a co-author of the bill, recently passed in the House, pushing for a marriage amendment. Gay marriage would not even be an issue were it not for the existence of religious institutions.
Is there any way to reconcile this apparent inconsistency?
Sure. Stemler is just a politician like any other politician, no better and no worse. He’s scrambling to put himself in the place he views as most advantageous to getting what he wants.
In some ways, I can’t blame him. He’s just as much a victim as the rest of us who were born into a society that holds government force in such high esteem. None of us had anything to do with its creation but we all have to figure out how to deal with it, Stemler included.
However, I refuse to sit quietly and listen to him talk about our current government as if it’s the best thing going, as if it’s an honorable institution that should be revered no matter how much evidence we have to the contrary. Government is inconsistent, illogical and often quite harmful to anyone wanting to pursue voluntary interactions.
So don’t expect me to accept it when I see any attempts to nuzzle up using fake platitudes meant to legitimize and maintain government control. I am not fooled into thinking we could ever trust what is arguably the most dangerous breed of politician, the government apologist.
Sellersburg resident Debbie Harbeson originally prepared a different column for this week on the topic of cats. But unfortunately the dog ate it.