When you've lived in Florida as long as I have, you learn to put up with certain things. Hurricane season. Huge, flying cockroaches. The Florida Legislature.
I am not a wonk or a political junkie. But over the years, I've been fascinated by the breathtaking stupidity of some of the legislative proposals coming out of the state Capitol. I know there are lawmakers who are trying to do the right thing and who aren't wasting my money with boot contests, but the state of things is pretty depressing.
Never mind that proposed budget cuts ($4 billion) will hobble public schools and a number of programs that serve the sick and needy. No, what lawmakers really need to take a stand on is: evolution!
Yep, a current Senate bill would "(provide) public school teachers with a right to present scientific information relevant to the full range of views on biological and chemical evolution; (and prohibit) a teacher from being discriminated against for presenting such information." That's just a fancy way of saying, "You can't punish a science teacher for espousing creationism." That sounds nice and fair — except that the whole God-created-the-universe idea has no place whatsoever in a SCIENCE classroom.
I know plenty of Christians who are outraged that this is being seriously discussed in 2008. I mean, if you truly believe that God created the Earth in seven, 24-hour days and that evolution is some nutty theory that contradicts the existence of a higher power, um, OK. But I don't want you teaching science to my kids.
Then there's the bill that would require women seeking an abortion to first have an ultrasound exam. They could then either see the image or sign a form declining to do so. I understand that people feel strongly about abortion, which raises complicated questions I'm not qualified to answer. But neither is the Florida Legislature. A pregnancy, welcome or not, is an extremely personal and individual circumstance, and this level of meddling is so blatantly inappropriate and unnecessary.
Besides, I have yet to see this level of hand-wringing concern on behalf of the "already born" who aren't faring so well. Interesting that you rarely see impassioned marches on the Capitol or hysterical letters to the editor on behalf of kids who are in foster care or being neglected/abused. (Did I mention that Florida is one of three states that ban gays outright from adopting? One of three. In the entire country.)
Anyway, it's nice to know that legislators aren't letting their fancy boots go unappreciated. Thanks, guys.