When I first started reporting politics, I worked on a daily show covering the West Virginia Legislature. My favorite compliments were when republicans would thank me for coverage of a story and “seeing it their way.” Only to be followed by democrats thanking me for coverage of the same story and “taking their side.” I found it ironic that two parties could see the same piece and each think it was tilted in their favor. The reality is that reality is rooted in the beholder. We see things as we want to.
It’s that time of year again when the Indiana General Assembly goes into overdrive to finish all the things lawmakers have been working on since January. With the final day next Monday (April 29, 2019) it seems like a good time to look back at all that’s been accomplished and to speculate on a few things that just might squeak by.
I commute over an hour to work every day. There are many things I could do with this time, make phone calls, listen to music or an audio book, but I choose to listen to Public Radio. On Valentine’s Day, David Greene did a story on Morning Edition about a group of kids in Chicago teaming up with the Parkland Survivors to address gun violence…it got me thinking. What do the students of South Bend have to say? What issues are important to them? How do they feel about their environment and schools?
My father was a medic in Vietnam. I never really got to know him—not because he was killed in action, but because of what happened afterward.
He wasn’t stationed in Vietnam, which gave him great survivor’s guilt. He was “safe” on a little island not far away that they used to evacuate and triage the wounded. It was beyond gut-wrenching seeing all the young men, many of them his age, covered in blood, missing limbs, looking like mangled pieces of meat. The guilt of patching them up, to send them back was a nightmare he lived over and over and over again. He found his escape in alcohol and more.
Governor Eric Holcomb recently made reducing the infant mortality rate in Indiana a top priority. When his press secretary mentioned to me that reducing those numbers is his new baby, I thought okay, we’ll make sure to include a few questions when host Elizabeth Bennion interviews him. It didn’t seem like that big a deal. Granted no one wants babies to die, but really in this day and age, in Indiana? It couldn’t possibly be that huge could it?
Every 10 years states get the chance to redraw boundaries for their congressional and legislative districts. The change is supposed to reflect the views of the ever-changing population so that everyone is represented fairly. However, over the years legislators from both parties have found ways to take advantage of it.
Ninety-nine Children Dead…If you saw that headline, you’d want to know what happened, right? In 2017, 70children in Indiana did die from neglect and abuse, while 29 died in Michigan under similar circumstance. If that doesn’t seem as heartbreaking as the original headline, think about it for a minute. That’s more than the number of people killed in the recent Jolo Cathedral twin bombings in the Philippians, more than the number who died in California’s Camp Fire wildfire, and more than the number of students killed in the Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting...
I recently watched On the Basis of Sex, the new movie about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. It tells the story of how the Ginsbergs (Ruth’s husband Martin was a renowned tax attorney) won Mortiz v. Commissioner of the Internal Revenue. It was a seemingly unimportant little case, but winning it overturned 178 American laws that discriminated against Americans based on gender. As I watched, it occurred to me that, though I wasn’t alive for the set up scenes of the 1950s and 60s, the actual case took place in my lifetime!