Tuesday, May 17, 2005

A suggestion for ending “frivolous” legislation

(I sent the following to Common Dreams, but they didn't publish it)

Recently in Texas there was a state bill introduced by Rep. Al Edwards (D) to ban “overtly sexually suggestive” cheerleading. The bill passed the state House, but apparently is not going to make it out of the state Senate this year.

Now, as a parent with daughters, I am not in favor of “sexy” cheerleading either. I think there is plenty of time to be “sexy” in one’s life and I support anyone being so when they have reached adulthood, not when they are eleven or twelve.

I don’t, however think that the state legislature needs to pass legislation to ban it. There are many more pressing issues in Texas than cheerleading (believe it or not). I think that communities can set and enforce standards of behavior just as well, if not better than legislation, and in this case, I would be much more in favor of communities advocating for “clean” (or whatever the opposite of “sexy” is) cheerleading than the state legislature passing legislation banning it.

As such, I think that this bill constitutes “frivolous” legislation.

That said, I think that we need a sure-fire way of reducing, if not completely eliminating frivolous legislation (given that our current state and national leaders are pressing for banning frivolous medical lawsuits, I am sure that this will be an easy sell).

Here is my suggestion: Anyone proposing legislation banning and/or regulating specific behavior needs to sign a sworn affidavit stating that she or he has not ever in the past, does not currently, nor ever will in the future, engage in, support, nor advocate the behavior proposed to be banned. This would, of course, be a public document and would become public record along with the proposed legislation. Anyone voting in favor of the bill would have to sign a similar affidavit. Those legislators that base their proposals and/or their votes on religious grounds, would, in addition to the affidavit, be encouraged to swear on the Holy Book (of their choice) to the same. Their swearing to same would also become public record.

I know what you are thinking. Brilliant! Why didn’t anyone think of this before? Why didn’t any legislators think of this before? Darned if I know. I would think that anyone in public office, local, state, or national would be thrilled about affirming their virtuosity in such a public, tangible manner. Maybe they just needed an affirmation from their public. If so, here it is.

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