GUEST COMMENTARY: Is this Hee Haw or Indiana Legislature?

2014-04-16T00:00:00Z GUEST COMMENTARY: Is this Hee Haw or Indiana Legislature?By Eric Ban
April 16, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Every morning during the Indiana legislative session, I cringe a bit when I open the paper.

I am routinely stunned as I watch a legislator popping up out of the Indiana cornfields and saying something so crazy I pinch myself to make sure I’m not still dreaming. What is more completely nonsensical is that there seems to be a bunch of other legislators willing to pop up out of those same legislative cornfields and support the craziness.

As a Hoosier who travels around the country, I am asked how I feel about Indiana allowing guns in school parking lots (as a former high school principal), Indiana throwing out national workforce standards in the face of the most glaring workforce skills gap in our nation’s history, and Indiana making laws to ensure those who are already marginalized become legally marginalized and made to feel worse than they already do.

To be honest, these questions make me feel sad and confused. I thought government was about being fiscally responsibly while:

  • Providing for public safety, public health and public services.
  • Building and maintaining infrastructure.
  • Discussing public investment in parks, museums, libraries and the environment.
  • Building human capital through investment in great schools, colleges and universities.
  • Investing in business development and innovation that leads to economic development and jobs.
  • Making sure everyone gets a “real” fair shake in their business, personal and spiritual dreams and aspirations, while ensuring those who play outside the lines are called out and brought to justice.

Oh yes, government is also about recognizing some people need help. This help often comes from public investment in the caring and committed social services professionals, law enforcement professionals and educators who do the work we don’t like to talk about. Work like dealing with domestic violence, mental health, drug addiction, poverty, violence, hunger, early education and public health.

This is a responsibility we all must share to ensure a civil and compassionate society in the wealthiest nation in the history of man.

We are blessed to live in a great state and a great country. Every country and state has a governance challenge. Our Indiana governance challenge is about the respect we must have for the important role and functions of government.

If you don’t like "Hee Haw," you can turn the channel. If you don’t like our focus on crazy random stuff that distracts us all from the important role of government, you can vote.

The only difference in the "Hee Haw" cornfield pop-ups and some of the legislative cornfield pop-ups is that the actors on "Hee Haw" were trained professionals.

Eric Ban is a former teacher, principal, professor and current eLearning executive. He is the president of the nonprofit College Acceleration Network. The opinions are the writer's.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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