I am really trying to not be judgmental or unfair today; as such, I won’t be going on a full-blown rant on hypocrisy (which was my initial inclination – it took me a full two hours to find my way off my trusty soap box). I will instead try and mold my comments into something that begs those who read it to come to their own conclusions. More of a sermon than a commentary…but based in the same moral fiber (and who couldn’t use a bit more fiber in their life?).
I read a story in The Forum today by Mike Nowatzki titled – Led-foot Legislators. The story focused on legislation to increase speeding ticket fines, but led with the information that those who are tasked with reviewing, debating, and voting on the legislation were/are, in large part, speeders themselves. The most notorious speeder of the whole lot – Connie Triplett out of Grand Forks, who has received 11 speeding tickets since 2007 – was quoted at the outset of the story saying, “I have no serious traffic violations, but I do have a lead foot.”
According to Nowatzki’s article:
“Since 2005, at least 53 of the House of Representatives’ 94 members, or 57 percent, and at least 29 of 47 senators, or 62 percent, have been cited for speeding or other moving violations, according to a review of online court records in North Dakota and Minnesota.
At least 17 senators and 36 House members had more than one citation on their records between the two states. A dozen lawmakers had five to nine citations for traffic- and vehicle-related offenses, while four lawmakers had 10 citations or more.”
House Bill 1048 seeks to raise traffic fines. It passed in the house with a 61-30 vote (29 of those 30 nays were Republicans). In regard to the bill that would raise fines Triplett who supports the bill said, “I think it would be a deterrent to myself and others.”
Ben Koppelman of West Fargo voted against the bill because “he wasn’t convinced the changes were necessary or that they would deter speeding.”
Per the article:
“Koppelman said he believes people with speeding tickets on their records – he has four – aren’t necessarily habitual speeders, and that most people end up speeding as they transition between speed zones or are driving in wide open areas with no traffic.”
Okay now, I understand that people who drive more frequently are more likely to get tickets. I am sure that legislators put on a lot of miles. I also understand that a speeding ticket is far from a major crime event; however, I cringe a bit when I learn that the folks making the laws are not in compliance with them. If legislators cannot role model a respect for the law then I have a hard time stomaching their participation in creating it.
Again, I know we are only talking about traffic violations here. I know that speeding is not the equivalent of moral corruption. But still I cringe as laws, however minor in the big picture, are laws for a reason. In regard to speeding, the laws are in place to protect not only the speeder, but also others. I would feel much better knowing that the folks who put those laws in place value them enough to abide by them. I don’t expect perfection, but I certainly do not want to learn that a number of our state legislators have had multiple citations. To be the makers of a law and to then violate the same law repeatedly sure seems like hypocrisy to me…can I get an AMEN??!!
Day one thousand three hundred and twenty-eight of the new forty – obla di obla da