Far be it for me to underestimate the challenges inherent in being a legislator. I understand that it is a cumbersome task that carries with it a tremendous mantle of responsibility. Legislators need to represent their constituents while also remaining true to the platform upon which they were elected. Legislators are constantly having to compromise and sometimes must make tough trade-offs in one arena to gain the support they need in another. In my estimation, it is a tough job fraught with frustrations and challenges and is not for the faint of heart.
There is some power that comes with being a legislator – after all, legislators do make the law that governs the citizenry and they approve the budget that funds government operations – they do have considerable control over the quality of life in their jurisdiction. The folks that elected them count on them to use that power to advance the voters’ interests. Those interests are sometimes incredibly specific and other times foundational to government’s most basic functions.
Today is the last day of the regular North Dakota legislative session. The session is limited to 80 days and today is the 80th day. Somehow it seems like this session – the 63rd Session – has been much longer than past sessions. Indeed, it has seemed painfully long. No doubt my sense of excruciating lingering has been built upon some of the lunacy that has gone on this session. It has been a session that is rife with contradictions. The most glaring contradiction sits between the legislature’s passage of so much pro-life legislation and their quashing or dilution of legislation that would have created a stronger quality of life for the existing residents of North Dakota – things like stronger DUI laws, better funding for schools, and tax relief for citizens.
How is it that a majority of the North Dakota legislature could vote on one hand to place such a high value on protecting new life and in other actions evidence a disregard for those already alive and populating the state? How could this majority that passed legislation that will cost the state untold legal fees to defend laws that will be constitutionally challenged, rationalize doing so while not allowing increased funding for schools? Are these legislators hypocrites, out-of-touch, or crazy people? No offense, but come on – what other explanation is there for being so gung ho about protecting life pre-birth and then not doing so post-birth?
If we are going to have a legislative majority that acts on its faith, then for heaven’s sake they should at least be consistent. You don’t get to legislate under the WWJD? (What would Jesus do?) banner, and then forsake those under your care. I have not had a chance to consult with Jesus on this yet, but I am fairly sure he is not down with the hypocrisy going on in North Dakota’s legislature. What would Jesus do? I have a pretty good idea…I think he would say that the members of the North Dakota legislature who are speaking out of both sides of their mouth need to repent and pull their heads out of their fannies (well, I imagine he’d say something like that - perhaps not exactly that).
The bottom line is this – practice what you preach members of the legislature. If you cannot divorce your faith from your decisions then at least be consistent. Remember, Jesus is not a fan of hypocrisy. If you are going to talk the talk then you need to walk the walk. That requires evidencing a primacy on life universally across all of your legislative decisions – and here is the thing about life – it doesn’t end at birth.
Day one thousand three hundred and ninety-five of the new forty – obla di obla da