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Columbia Missourian

DAVID ROSMAN: Who's to blame for the fools on the hill?

By David Rosman
January 2, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CST

Monday, Dec. 31, 2012, and as of 8 p.m., Congress has avoided a "Thelma and Louise." The car is slowing down, an agreement was reached with four hours to spare, the can is being kicked for another two months when the 113th Congress is in session. Won’t that be a terrible waste of a 1966 T-Bird rag-top. Ka-boom!

The good news? We are going to see new faces under the federal and state domes in a couple of days. The bad news? We will not see new politics.

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Worse news? Trickle-down political stup ... silliness, from federal to state, does work. We have been prepped for more Republican and Democratic in-fighting and out-fighting on their way to another unproductive session.

We have some idea of what the Missouri 2013 session will give us and one of the stup… silliest is the state constitutional amendment proposed by state Rep. Jason Smith, R-Salem, and Rep. Kenneth Wilson, R-Smithville, to "enshrine" the rights of farmers to "agricultural technology and modern livestock production and ranching techniques" or prevent any law that would "unreasonably restrict hunting, fishing and harvesting wildlife or the use of traditional devices or methods." Do we need this?

Why is this stup … silliness legislation? If you are a regular reader of my diatribes, you can guess. For those who are not, I oppose any proposed state or federal constitutional amendment that does not speak directly to the workings of government or to extend the rights of all citizens.

Yet Wilson admitted that there is no reason for this amendment. Missourian reporter Fedor Zarkhin reported him as saying that Missouri farmers' and hunters' rights aren't being threatened now but that it's necessary to prevent their rights from being taken away in the future. Really?

The enemy? Why, it is those commie-pinko, tree-hugging animal-rights groups: the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Humane Society of the United States. Maybe I need to buy an assault rifle to protect myself from these socialist revolutionaries.

So why waste the taxpayer’s time and money?

Partly to prevent real work from happening, and to get our minds off the important work that has not been done, like the federal sequestration or “fiscal cliff,” even at the state level.

The 112th Congress had 16 months to work this out — 16 months since Congress decided to procrastinate and "kick the can down the road." (I really hate that euphemism.)

I did a quick online search for "sequestration" and "fiscal cliff" and found the earliest reference of the current “fiscal cliff" was made by Ben Bernanke in February 2012. The warning was made and with 10 months to go, Congress did … nothing.

So another can, another kick, and it will all be left to the 113th Congress to fix.

Sequestration is an example of absurd political philippic rhetoric at its best, effectively using Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Need” as the platform. Let’s get the voters on our side by saying the other side is threatening physiological needs by threatening our homes. Take away our safety needs by frightening us about a mass reduction in military effectiveness. Hammer a bigger wedge between “us” and “them,” effectively removing any sense of community. Bully the public’s self-esteem by reducing funds available to go to college.

On the Missouri state level, last year’s passing of the “Missouri Public Prayer Amendment” is another example of nonsense being passed off as a threat to liberty and well-being. It did nothing to improve the religiosity of Missourians, prevent prayer or nonparticipation in our schools, or say anything that is not already said in the Constitution of the United States and the Missouri Constitution.

Will Smith and Wilson’s proposal change anything? Will it stop some wrong? No. But it gets them free publicity by conjuring up a new threat that does not exist. It’s like magic.

Really, this stup … this silliness must stop. No, stupidity is the right word. And we, the voters, are to blame. We shot ourselves in the foot. It was us who hired the fools on the hill.

David Rosman is an editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. Questions? Contact Opinion editor Elizabeth Conner.