Local and State Control Hats

Local and State Control Hats

When my son was three years-old, he had an astonishingly straightforward way of expressing himself. If he was busy doing something and we told him it was time to do something else (go to bed, get in the car, take a bath, whatever), he would just look at us, incredulous, and say, “But I want to do what I want to do.” Sometimes he would repeat it. Slowly. Because we didn’t seem to understand the perfect logic, as if to say: “How are you people not getting this? Are you that dense?!”

While we certainly can’t expect such honesty and directness from Lansing politicians, it would be refreshing for a change, wouldn’t it? Just tell us what you are angling for. Don’t try to make your intentions sound legitimate by putting on a hat. (Because when it becomes convenient for you, you’re gonna switch hats.) If you straight up believe in something, don’t dodge — just say it.

The state senate recently passed a bill that would prevent local communities from banning plastic shopping bags. It was a curious bit of proactivity because no Michigan community currently has a ban. It was even more curious that the primary Republican-sponsored argument was the virtue of uniform statewide control (and the largely Democratic argument advocating for local control).

But maybe it’s better this way. It might be pretty unsettling if legislators did actually give us the unvarnished truth: “I want to pass this legislation because a lobbyist will give me a truckload of money if I do. A. Truck. Load. Of. Money. How are you people not getting this? Are you that dense?!”

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