When I ran for Governor of Michigan, one of the most vexing issues for me was how to shrink the scope of government while maintaining the essential role it must play in the health, safety and success of citizens. I thought having a part-time Legislature might have some advantages. Legislators would have to maintain real world jobs and interact daily with citizens rather than lobbyists. There would be more pressure to accomplish something in a shorter period of time, hopefully restricting the amount of bribing (I mean lobbying) by Big Business. But honestly, this current Republican Legislature is the best argument for some mechanism to precipitate instant change — maybe something a la a parliamentary system. We certainly should have “no confidence” in Michigan’s Legislature.
In the face of crippling unemployment, infrastructure crumbling and a failing education system – all with hundreds of millions of dollars in budget surplus, the Michigan Senate just passed its most important law of the year (so far), requiring people to purchase American flags only made in the USA (so much for the free market blather of Conservatives). Really? Our roads can swallow up cars whole and Republicans want to make sure it’s only an American-made American flag that is draped over them?
The idea of approving the Republican Governor’s suggestion of a jobs program that will repair the roads is never even voted on, but silly nonsense like the flag bill gets passed. I suppose there is an argument that stupid bills are better than the ones they have tried to pass to regulate the kind of sex we have, the partner we marry or the control women have over their own bodies. However, I can’t be that cynical about government. I can’t give up just yet on the idea that government can work for the good of citizens.