It needed to be said
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 9:00 PM
Let's see if we can get this straight. State Sen. Phil Boots, duly sworn representative of Montgomery County and a couple others, has ruffled some feathers in Indianapolis.
Boots is also one of the owners of The Paper - although trust me, that has nothing to do with today's ramblings. Matter of fact, I'm not even sure the good senator will like what I have to say. But in my not-so-humble opinion, some things need to be said.
Sen. Boots, you see, introduced a bill that would allow the state of Indiana to declare some federal laws unconstitutional.
Let's review. History teaches us that the Founding Fathers envisioned a weaker central government with strong state government. No surprise there since we were working pretty hard to get out from under King George's thumb and establish our own nation.
So Article VI, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution - known as the Supremacy Clause - says that the "Constitution, and the Laws of the United States . . . shall be the supreme Law of the Land." Simply put, this means that the federal government takes precedence over any conflicting or inconsistent state exercise of power.
On one hand, that makes perfectly good sense. On the other, back when Francis Scott Key was ducking cannonballs near Ft. McHenry there weren't hundreds of thousands of pages of federal code, laws so complicated that the average Joe couldn't understand them, tax regulations that take up not pages but volumes, gazillions of lobbyists, pork barrel spending, national debt in the trillions and citizen confidence in our government hovering around 10 percent. Heck, we actually had a government that was for the people. Kind of different, huh?
So good ol' Sen. Boots tosses out this idea and puts it in the form of proposed legislation. Boy did the proverbial poop hit the fan blades then.
First, professors from IUPUI went on the attack. One called it crazy while another, David Orentlicher, a law professor and former Democrat lawmaker, was quoted in the Lafayette Journal & Courier as saying, "It really is not only inappropriate but troublesome for a legislator who has a duty to uphold the Constitution to take a position of defiance."
Really? Perhaps someone should have told that to Patrick Henry, John Hancock, Ben Franklin and a few others. No, no, no, let's not jump to insane conclusions and suggest that the US of A is at a point where overthrow is the best option. In fact, it's just the opposite. By offering this concept, Boots is once again showing how civil discourse in this nation is the best answer. Opponents, however, are saying that some of the insane rules coming out of Washington can't even be questioned. How ridiculous can it get? More importantly, when is enough, enough?
Has anyone heard what the latest approval rating of Congress is? According to a recent Gallup poll, it's 14 percent. Fourteen percent, for crying out loud. That means that 86 percent of the country doesn't approve. Can you imagine what would happen to you in your job if you got a 14 percent rating on your performance? And yet our elected leaders in Washington get pay raises, ridiculous benefits - I mean health insurance, retirement and other perks that the rest of us can't touch. It's turned into very much "them" and "us." And now, just because one state senator has the nerve to suggest we might ought to question some of the hogwash rolling out of the District of Columbia, political leaders and inside observers lose their minds.
There's one thing for sure in all this. Boot's proposed legislation, SB 230, will never make it out of committee. It's already been assigned to the Rules Committee and that's where it will die. No public debate will take place because most of the elected types don't want to have this conversation.
It's a shame because these are exactly the kind of conversations that need to take place.
Tim Timmons is the publisher of The Paper and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.