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Hypocritical, immature legislators react to Jindal vetoes

More vetoes were rung up by Gov. Bobby Jindal, and more wailing and gnashing of teeth from the comically hypocritical to the ignorantly profane were issued forth by his ideological opponents.

One Jindal bill victim was HB 785 which would have created a new political subdivision with sweeping regulatory powers, causing concern for the governor. Despite the reasonableness of the objection, this left the bill’s author state Rep. Sam Jones sputtering, “I fear that maybe it’s punitive … the reasons given to me certainly don’t wash.” Jones argued it was similar to an existing local government elsewhere – but just because it’s been done before doesn’t mean it’s a good idea, and Jindal’s veto certainly was appropriate.

However, it’s not surprising Jones would think in terms of vindictiveness; as a member of former Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s Administration, he likely had input into the “punitive” vetoes she used to cast. Jones’s selective and situational indignation is thereby duly noted and snickered at.

But another author of a bill that Jindal struck down, state Rep. Walker HinesHB 781, reacted in an immature way on many levels. This bill would have created a new salaried political appointee and a new board with political appointees to study ways to deal with “homelessness.” Jindal vetoed it because he thought that it wasn’t necessary to spend over $600,000 extra of the people’s money during the next five years for the Department of Social Services to do this. Hines thought the federal government might pay for some of this, but spending taxpayer money needlessly regardless of the source never is a good idea.

Hines’ reaction to the veto was akin to what one might have thought had he been told Jindal personally had gone door-to-door kicking people out into the street and repossessing their homes on a whim: “This is a political retribution – for what, I don’t know,” he whined, and followed up by asserting that Jindal would have to answer to his Catholic faith for the veto – presumably meaning that somehow the action was inconsistent with “Catholicism” as Hines desires to define it.

Yet if Hines truly believes adding one more bureaucrat and a commission on the taxpayer dime is going to do anything to address this “problem” to such an extent that to oppose it threatens Jindal’s soul, he clearly has lost touch with reality and knows little about Catholicism (despite his biographical claim that he practices it). Although he’s probably familiar with this document that instructs us to take care of some possible side-effects of homelessness (Ezekiel 18:16 declares as righteous he “who gives his food to the hungry and clothes the naked,” although also we are told in 2 Corinthians 5:1 “if our earthly dwelling, a tent, should be destroyed, we have a building from God”), it appears he may not be familiar with this one, but in neither case do they declare that it is a matter of doctrine for the faithful to have government use additional resources to address a social problem like homelessness, nor does failure to do so constitutes sin.

Hines also may not be aware of Pope Benedict’s recently released encyclical Caritas in Veritate and that nowhere in it does Benedict make such claims. In fact, the use of government to force a caritas out of its citizenry, the philosophy behind Hines’ statement about Jindal, is something of a contradiction to its entire meaning.

We, especially us Catholics, must lament the lack of maturity, intellect, and knowledge behind Hines’ comments, particularly when they come from one who holds himself out as Catholic, and depressingly consider that these traits may be more the norm than exception among politicians of all faiths or of none. But through communication and prayer, we can hope that they understand what it means that we are (as Mark 12:17 instructs) to “repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God” when it comes to wise public policy.

1 comment:

Dan Richey said...

Awwesome column today (July 9, 2009)

I can't thank you enough for the great commentary you provide on a regular basis.

It's great to have someone who completely counters the balderdash from the Advocate and Picayune editorial staffs.

Keep up the great work!.