The government always has managed to spurn my temper in one way or another. Between petty fighting across the aisle over trivial issues, or a small group from one party or another blocking legislation out of sheer spite, our elected officials always seem do to something that bothers me. However, recent events have pushed me over the edge of frustration and into full-blown infuriation.
The Indiana House of Representatives voted 58 to 40 to remove current Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, a Democrat, from a position that previously came with the job. The position of chair of the State Board of Education has been automatically given to the elected official who claims the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, but due to conflicts that she has with both the legislative and the executive branches, her powers have slowly been chipped away until her job holds a fraction of the power that was allowed the former holder of the position, Tony Bennett, a Republican. When House Speaker Brian Bosma addressed the issue, he claimed that Ritz is impeding the progress that he and his party are attempting to make.
In 2012, Ritz beat Bennett in a race that was considered an upset. Ritz has the support of many, including the state of Indiana’s largest teacher’s union. However many of her opinions and policies are in direct conflict with those of the Republican Party.
The GOP has a majority in the Senate and a supermajority in the House along with holding control of the executive branch, making her efforts to cross party lines futile at best. Despite being elected by the people of Indiana and representing the majority opinion of the educators to whom her policies directly apply, the House has decided to remove her from a position instead of attempting to reach common ground.
This is where my temper begins to flare. Imagine if the principal of a high school was not allowed to run his staff meetings. He was hired to be in charge of his staff and the policies, but now he can’t even be in attendance when staff members talk about and make important decisions regarding the school that he runs. Similarly, our Republican representatives have decided to sidestep tradition and practicality to avoid having to come to the table and compromise.
Although opinions about education vary greatly from person to person, I believe that we all can agree that compromise is usually the best option for moving forward.
When one party, no matter which party that is, has enough backing in all of the government to completely ignore the other side of the aisle, then the system is seriously flawed.
No one party or entity should have complete, or nearly complete, control of the government. The reason that we have a three-branch government is so that each branch can work to make sure the others do not overstep their bounds. Sadly, when one political party, united in any cause, holds the majority power in all facets of government, the system will often fail.
I have a message for any and all of our so-called representatives who voted to strip power from a key government official. Your convictions, regardless of how strong and well intentioned, are not so irrefutable that should you bypass argument to accomplish your goals. Despite your strong convictions, others may have a point of view that they find as equally as valid and reasonable as the one that you are thrusting upon the public. Have the common decency to represent all of the people in your district, not simply the ones who believe the same as you. At least give the other side an opportunity to voice their side. I do not think that it is too much to ask that government, whether state or federal, run on the system of checks and balances that are outlined in the constitution.