2015- that was the year it was

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2015 will it be remembered as the year that gave us the “Man Bun” – a male fashion statement in the tradition of the Ducktail and the Mullet.?
Or will it be remembered as the year when so many Republicans ran for president that debate organizers could not get them all on one stage, so folks in charge divided them into the “first team” and the “scrubs” and told them to go at it?
Or will it be remembered as the year when more people watched an ESPN special on the evolution of the Star Wars light saber duel than watched the debates?
Which was a pity, for missing the debates they missed hearing a leading presidential candidate take exception to the popular (and politically correct) theory of “American Exceptionalism,” which holds that we sure are an exceptional country.
Right there in front of God and FOX News, the candidate in question claimed that if elected he would “Make America Great Again,” which can only mean that we aren’t as great, or exceptional, as we believe we are.
All that notwithstanding, I think 2015 will be remembered as the year of an Alabama Legislature that was, in the opinion of some,  the worst legislature in Alabama history.
“How can that be?” You are surely asking yourself.  There are so many candidates for the “worst ever” award.
Well, think of it this way.Imagine that after all those sessions wheezed to a stop, a legislator got home, tired and irritated,  and was greeted by his or her little child who, in all innocence, asked “Papa (or Mama) what did you do all that time you were in Montgomery?”
Would the Papa (or Mama) tell that innocent darling, “Well, I and my fellow legislators made life hard for poor folks who were in sorry shape to begin with and solved a budget crisis by doing nothing in hopes that the economy will improve, the crisis will solve itself, and we will look like responsible servants of the people.” “Were you,” the tyke would ask, “responsible servants of the people?”
“Of course not,” would be the honest reply.  “We were servants of Alfa, the Business Council, the American Kennel Club, ALEC, and a whole bunch of other groups that most folks never heard of.”
“Some among us used to be servants of AEA,” he added, “but we  (he/she is a Republican) took down the teacher lobby, so they won’t trouble us in the future.”
“But will the economy improve so you can continue to appear to be servants of the people?”  (The irritating tot is showing signs that it might one day be a journalist.)
“Of course,” he replied, ignoring recent surveys that show that despite all the subsidies sunk into companies to get them to relocate here, the payback is falling behind what our neighbors are getting from their investments, and that in 2016 we will experience another revenue shortfall similar to 2015.
Now ask yourself, when has a legislature done worse? But rather than end on such a negative note, it is only fair to point out that something good did come from the meanderings of our elected leaders.
While trying to figure out a way to raise money to cover the budget shortfall, Rep. Jack Williams, a self proclaimed Reagan Republican from Montgomery, set aside any First Amendment reservations he might have (which apparently he had none) and proposed a 40 percent exercise tax on sexually oriented material.
Yep, tax porn – which was defined in his bill as just about anything written, drawn, filmed, etc., showing someone doing something dirty decent folks can frown on.
Records from the sale of such stuff in this state suggest that there is a pot of money out there to be had for the taxing, and Rep. Williams was all for going after it.
And for a moment it appeared that the bill might pass.
Then some of the legislators who had gotten elected on a “no new taxes” pledge, said they couldn’t support it.
Even though “taxing sin” was a state tradition (alcohol, cigarettes, etc), even though the moral climate of the state might even be improved as a consequence, even though taxing this sorta sin might go down well with voting church folks, and (almost as an afterthought) even though the revenue from it would help ease the budget crisis, a tax is still a tax.
The bill died.
And so, amid all that went wrong in the legislature this year, something went right – or as my late Father was wont to say, “even a blind hog finds an acorn every once and a while.”
Now it is 2016.
If history is any judge, soon “man buns” will go the way of mullets and ducktails.
And the legislature will abide.
Harvey H. (“Hardy”) Jackson can be reached at hjackson@cableone.net.

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