Tragicomic Failures of Government from this Week Alone

The modern era has been noteworthy for how sad and comical government has become. The list of head shaking failures since the beginning is too long to list: let’s just look at the last week or so. Surely it can’t be that bad.

1. Florida Passes Bill to Arm Teachers Instead of Banning Assault Weapons

Gun Wall by Michael Saechang, on Flickr

Oh, you thought yet another violent shooting that again catapulting gun violence to the forefront of the nation’s attention would have an effect outside of Dick’s temporarily not selling some guns? Florida lawmakers had other ideas. Despite an incredibly passionate group of teen activists (and the majority of Floridians) pushing for gun reform, Flordia Senate lawmakers declined to ban assault weapons after a deadly assault in their literal backyard that left 17 children dead. Instead passed a bill that would allow schools to arm teachers. All this as activists hollered “Shame!” outside the Capitol.

It’s true that little is shocking these days, but it still rattles my brain that people would rather let children die than make it harder to buy a deadly weapon. Heavy lobbying by the NRA surely plays a part, but this is just insane. And putting weapons in the hands of teachers seems like a great idea: I know I’ve personally met so many teachers that were the kind of people who would love to carry a gun every day. And surrounding immature children with weaponry certainly won’t have any negative consequences. Can’t wait for the first “I’m gonna grab the teacher’s gun” prank-related death.

I guess when one of your state senators believes that “thoughts and prayers” will stop the evil behind school shootings, this is what ya get. Although I’m sure that Trump will be thrilled.

2. West Virginia Lawmakers Refuse to Pay Teachers, Keep Schools Closed


Along the same lines, the West Virginia legislature can’t seem to get it together to give teachers a 5% raise. Instead, they’ve allowed the state-wide teachers strike to enter its eighth day. At this point, it’s hard to imagine why this is continuing to go on for this long. Teachers are chronically underpaid almost as a rule and put up with a raft of toxic garbage from parents and administrators just because they so badly want to do what is literally the most important job in the world: raising and educating your kids.

Pinching pennies with teachers has always seemed the definition of penny-wise, pound-foolish. But the West Virginia situation is especially wet and wild. The state House and the Republican governor have actually already approved the 5% raise teachers are demanding, but Republicans in the state Senate are refusing to let the raise go forward. Hilariously, they actually tried to pass a 4% raise on Saturday but screwed up and temporarily passed the 5% raise before fixing their error.

Is West Virginia so bankrupt that it can’t pay teachers a living wage? Perhaps it is. The state hardly has a booming economy, and it’s been one of the regions hardest hit by the opioid crisis. But this ongoing refusal is inexcusable.

3. The Family Foundation Delays Kentucky’s Vote Outlawing Child Marriage

There must be some topics in the world we can still all agree on. Everyone agrees murder is bad. There must be something else we can agree on. What about forcing kids under the age of 18 into marriages? That’s gotta be a blanket bad deal.

Well, the Family Foundation is here to disagree! Kentucky’s Senate Judiciary Committee was all set to vote on a bill outlawing child marriage last Thursday. But last-minute opposition from the conservative Family Foundation delayed the vote on the bill, which would raise the marriageable age in Kentucky to 17. Right now, 16 and 17-year-olds can marry with their parents’ consent, and pregnant girls of any age can be married to the child’s father. Turns out this isn’t great. Kentucky has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the U.S., with more than 10,000 children getting married between 2000 and 2015.

The Family Foundation is naturally considered that this bill would diminish parental rights. I mean, of course. We need to protect the rights of parents to marry off their underage daughters to older men, I guess? Or are we protecting the rights of teenage parents to get married?

What Comes Next?

Maybe it’s just been a particularly bad week. Maybe Chicken Little is just crying at the sky. But weeks like this make me wonder what comes next.

Alex Fox


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