If you’ve been paying attention to the Idaho legislature you might have learned something this last long 5 months of their deliberations. And they aren’t over yet (Sunday night). They want to hang around to override vetoes. So, no doubt there’s more for us to learn.
Back in January, Rep. Heather Scott R-Blanchard, let us know the Covid scare was over. That was helpful. Not that we were all scared, but we have come to trust the wisdom of our elected officials. But the legislature did then take a recess, mid-March to April because a dozen folks got sick. That recess cost us taxpayers about $300K so the out of Boise lawmakers could pay their rent. Not sure what we should learn from that.
But there have been some other interesting diseases or conditions quite evident this session, despite the Covid cases. It’s been a real pathologists dream.
The most glaring eruption has been a bad case of Republican schizopartiitis. The main symptoms are bitter disputes that don’t really interest the voters. The disputes can lead to meaningless votes rejecting budgets, then, weeks later approving them unchanged. Other symptoms include prolonged floor debates and stalling tactics. It can eventually lead to polemic bills that have no real effect but make a “statement”.
This condition can affect either party, but it’s usually most evident in the dominant one. Since parties don’t really stand for anything anymore, it’s easy for some members to claim others “don’t belong”. This condition is painful, but usually self-correcting if the electorate is informed and healthy.
Another disease identified this session in the Idaho Statehouse has been ideaitis. Basically, it just means inflamed ideas. It is becoming a much more common condition with the prevalence of social media. We are all subject to minor bouts now and then. Aunt Bessie and her persistent ideas about the squirrels emptying her bird feeder can only become a problem when she gets out the 12 gauge and takes out the neighbor’s picture window. But when we elect representatives to write laws for us and they have inflamed ideas, the destruction can be widespread.
Idaho legislators have had a fear of marijuana for a long time, but their inflamed idea of its threat has led to them altering and restricting the initiative process, trying to amend the Constitution to prohibit drug legalization, and prohibiting advertisements across state lines. It’s a simple condition to treat, but the legislature has resisted treatment. Many patients are in denial, I have found. The treatment involves listening to others who might have other ideas. The inflammation slowly subsides.
But without treatment the festering inflammation can come to a head and erupt. Sometimes, after the pus drains, the patient can then heal. But if the inflammation goes deep, affecting the vital organs of the Republic, it can be fatal. History is rife with examples.
The chief example from this session had to do with public education and “critical race theory and social justice”. The idea that this was a threat was injected into our legislative body by the “Idaho Idea Development Laboratory” down in Boise. Some have argued it crossed over from infected sheep, but there is no doubt this was a lab created infection. The IIDL cooks up ideas all the time and then they inject them in susceptible legislators. This session they got a lot of people inflamed.
Finally, this legislative session, the longest in Idaho’s history, was marked by widespread hubris: that’s the old-fashioned name. Nowadays we call it, to make it sound like a medical condition, Self-Important Syndrome, SIS.
Be careful who you vote for next year. Wearing a mask doesn’t stop the spread of these conditions. We, the voters, perpetuate these harmful conditions at the ballot box.