A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: We’re not making up any of this! Honestly!

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Some weeks ago, we penned an article captioned “What mischief will legislature produce?”

Although that august body will not adjourn sine die for some days yet, they have already established a new record for Acts of ignorance, shame, and disgrace that will be hard to equal, but no doubt they will strive to do so just next year.

Consider, if you will the following efforts, some of which have passed, some which have not yet been acted upon and some of which are lying in abeyance awaiting an opportune time to rear their ugly heads and become public Acts.

One of these proposals displaying a heartlessness typical of present day Republicans is the bill tying family welfare benefits to performance in school by the children in the family. In the make-believe world of some of these “solons” this may make sense, but in the real world, it is absurd and will, if enacted, produce countless tragedies for both parents and children.

How many times have we heard or read of some legislative big-wig’s offspring straying from the straight and narrow, whether as a consequence of drugs, sex, alcohol, bad company, bad motives, or simple stupidity. In each of these cases should the big-wig be held responsible for his or her “child’s” misbehaviour?

Should they have their pay docked, or should they be removed from office?
As far as we have heard, not a single one of them has been made to suffer any consequence for their dereliction in their role of parent, but they retain their seats and draw their pay amongst the high and mighty, lapping up the commiseration of their colleagues.

Realists are fearful of the consequences that may well be visited upon the youngsters for their failure to make the grade.

We all know that under the best of circumstances there are some children who simply cannot achieve intellectually up to a desired level. And some cannot achieve, despite their intellectual capacity, because of any number of other factors, such as poor housing, poor health, poor nutrition, lack of tools to study, lack of clothes, being made fun of, bullying, either physical or mental, and numerous other factors — yet because of this, their parents are to be deprived of the pittance that our benevolent big-wigs deign to bestow upon on them.

There are unfortunately people who although capable of making babies, are incapable of nurturing and raising them. Scarcely a week goes by that a story does not appear telling of the maltreatment of some child by his or her parent or parents. And now these all-seeing, all-knowing founts of wisdom are going to impose new sources of potential mistreatment upon these poor creatures.

On the other side, there are misguided children who might wish to see their parents punished for some real or imagined slight, who decide to cause them trouble by goofing off and creating a false scenario as to their educational achievement.

Unless memory plays us false, there are scriptural prohibitions about visiting the sins of parents on children and vice-versa. But neither religion nor common sense has any impact upon the “deliberations” of this crowd, who claim to be pro-family.
Another aspect of the Republican assault is the pro-business, anti-labour changes in the Workers Compensation laws. These changes are fraught with injustices, and inequities, but the proposals once again display the tendency to over-reach. Here we refer to the proposal to remove adjudication of workers’ claims from the court system and substitute a hearing officer to be named by another administrative official.

We know not what our unelected Supreme Court would rule on this situation, but the old curmudgeon after more than a half century of studying the Constitution and laws cannot help but opine that this proposal not only violates the separation of powers, but also violates the Constitutional requirements for judges.

The General Assembly and the Governor will, of course, do what they want, but surely there is still some vestige of Due Process that must be preserved.

Of course the Republicans’ absolute majority has gone to their respective heads and they think that they are the ultimate power exercising ultimate control. As Lord Acton observed: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

We thought that they had exceeded the farthest boundaries of sense with their various bills to “nullify” Congressional actions. Had they even a smidgeon of learning about our history, they would recall that the nation went through its “Nullification Crisis” during the Jacksonian Era, and the Nullifiers lost. But the intellectual giants among the Republican legislators, such as Mae Beavers, opine as to how they can declare Federal legislation non-operational within the Volunteer state, and can declare that any federal official attempting to carry out a federal mandate in Tennessee is guilty of a crime — some want to declare it a felony, others only a misdemeanor. If they were not overwhelmed with ignorance, they would remember that this tactic was tried, and failed during the integration crisis of the fifties and sixties. Governors of Arkansas, Alabama and Mississippi could all testify that this doesn’t work. Even that paragon of Republican virtues, Dwight D. Eisenhower, would not tolerate such foolishness. Those of a certain age can well remember his nationalization of the Arkansas National Guard in order to enforce, the federal mandate to integrate Little Rock Central High School. As George Santayana opined: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

But the ultimate display of Republican ignorance coupled with consummate arrogance is the effort of Frank Nicely and his GOP cohorts to undo the 17th Amendment, which provides for the People to choose their members of the U.S. Senate. Nicely proposes that primaries to select Senate candidates be abolished, and instead the General Assembly would choose the nominees of each party.  The result would be that the present Republican controlled Legislature would pick the person to run on the Democratic ticket in the November elections.

Of course the brilliance of Nicely’s plan was so blinding that he could not foresee the day when he and his Republican cohorts are no longer in control of the General Assembly and instead of his plan succeeding, the Democratic General Assembly would have the power to name the Republican nominee. What a plan!
With such folks as Nicely, Beavers, Campfield et al. presenting the face of Republicanism, we predict that it will not be long before Democrats will once again be in charge of the Legislature, and we can restore at least a little bit of sense to that body.