I’m from Iowa, which meant I was surrounded by Chicago Cubs fans. Before the Curse of the Goat was broken, I witnessed the emotional slide from cautious optimism to baffled disappointment, season after season, as the Cubs found new and familiar ways to lose.
I couldn’t sympathize (Cardinals fan). Yet only six weeks into the state legislative session, I find myself repeating the unofficial Cubs cheer:
“What are you doing?”
Here’s just a sample of the baffling plays legislators have made so far this session. Each one deserves its own column, but we don’t have that kind of time:
— A vote to repeal initial teaching certification standards.
— A vote to repeal academic standards for English, math and science.
— A massive rework of Idaho’s marriage licensing process that eliminates common law marriage, reroutes funding away from domestic violence programs and removes marriage licensing requirements (one of the few barriers to child marriage in the state) all in one go.
— A bill that equates gender-affirming medical treatments (including hormone blockers) with genital mutilation and makes it a crime to give those treatments to minors.
— A bill that bars transgender students from competing in high school sports.
— A bill that effectively bans affirmative action.
— A vote to relax rules protecting farmworkers from pesticide exposure.
— And as this column was being written, members of the House Education Committee openly opposed Superintendent Sherri Ybarra’s proposal for a teacher training program to help at-risk students. The goal is to help lower Idaho’s high suicide rate. District 33 Rep. Barb Ehardt says the task should be left to parents (a noble thought that doesn’t reflect reality at all, but that’s another column for another time).
My point is: I’m sorry, Cubs fans. I understand now. It feels like someone is deliberately trying to throw the game, except there’s a lot more at stake besides a shot at the World Series.
If you’re also a frustrated fan, I have bad news: There’s no curse to just wait out. The good news: that’s because, in the game of politics, we’re not the spectators. We’re the owners and the players. We can change the roster and the rules (and better enforce the rules we already have). This game requires our active participation to be any good.
Now is your chance to get out of the stands and onto the field. The filing deadline to declare your candidacy is March 13. The Bonneville County Democrats make the process even easier for you. We’ll have people on hand to help fill out and finalize the paperwork at our next Central Committee meeting. It’s 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Idaho Falls Public Library.