Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Resolution on Government Resolutions

HARBESON: Whereas, it’s time for a resolution

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — When Indiana Rep. Bob Morris, a Republican from Fort Wayne, said he would not support a government resolution celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts because it is a “radicalized organization,” there was a predictable feeding frenzy in response.

Once this story was in front of everyone’s nose, people smelled the rich sugary sweetness of controversy and chomped down. Hard. Most people fell right in line and dutifully framed the issue around the Girl Scouts, but the Scouts have about as much relevance to the main issue as chocolate flavor has to do with the main ingredient in the pie that maid Minnie Jackson gave to racist Hilly Holbrook in the movie, “The Help.”

Think about what gave this politician the opportunity to state his views about the Girl Scouts in the first place — a nonbinding government resolution. Shouldn’t we be discussing the very idea of these resolutions? They are basically puffed-up documents that congratulate organizations, businesses and individuals for various accomplishments and anniversaries.

In other words, these resolutions are simply another way for politicians to pander to the voters.

Knowing that, it’s easy to understand why Morris’ action annoyed all the politicians. After all, he was refusing to go along with their pandering. Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma was so desperate to pander that he handed out cookies on the House floor. That’s how important pandering is — so important that he threw his fellow party member under a busload of Thin Mints.

Why would any private voluntary association even want the approval of these people? I guess the document is something to put on the ol’ “I love me” wall, but personally I’d just keep that part of the wall empty before I would display something that showed I got a condescending pat on the head from government officials.

These resolutions also take advantage of the hard work and achievements of others. Politicians hop on the success wagons of people who have nothing to do with government — people who are simply living their lives and driving toward their own goals. I mean this literally too, because there is a government resolution this year congratulating Tony Stewart on winning the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship.

I don’t know how resolutions start but I can’t imagine Mr. Stewart really cares all that much. I can’t imagine he spent last year making all those left turns, dreaming about how cool it would be to have a bunch of politicians formally congratulating him with a document full of almost as many “whereas this” and “whereas that’s” as there are laps in a Daytona race.

Adults are one thing but when I looked through the resolutions for this legislative session I noticed that most of them are written for kids who have excelled in some way. This actually does make sense.

Such resolutions can be an important part of the continuing indoctrination of the young. Lots of work goes into making sure kids blindly accept political authority and what better way to start than by giving them accolades for their accomplishments. Going back to that pie, such government accolades are the chocolate flavor that hides what the kids are really being fed.

But maybe this would all make more sense if I just wrote a resolution of my own stating my position:

I offer the following resolution on resolutions and move its adoption.

Whereas, nonbinding resolutions serve only as political pandering;

Whereas, politicians use nonbinding resolutions to create controversy;

Whereas, it makes absolutely no sense at all for private individuals and voluntary associations to accept resolutions of approval from an institution that only exists because of coercion,

Be it resolved by this columnist of the News and Tribune of Floyd and Clark counties in Indiana:

• Section 1: That all government nonbinding resolutions and any related controversy be ignored from this point forward.

• Section 2: That a copy of this resolution be transmitted to every pandering politician in the state of Indiana.

— Whereas Debbie Harbeson resides in Clark County, be it hereby resolved that any reader is invited to contact her at Debbie@debbieharbeson.com

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