Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Wrong Place at the Wrong Time

Two weeks ago, we heard the story of an Idaho senator who had been accused of improprieties in a Minneapolis airport restroom. The questions were flying everywhere, as well as accusations and damage control. Call me naive, but my first question was, "What in the world is an Idaho senator doing in a Minnesota airport?" Just a few days away from that event, we heard that a planeload of US legislators had been "fired upon" in Iraq, and again, I wanted to ask, "What were they doing there?"

If you read the Constitution carefully (and nobody does, myself included), provisions were made for there to be a State Department to handle such things internationally. Congressmen and senators had one duty: to represent their constituencies in Washington. When not in Washington, they were supposed to be back in their own districts, finding out what the people who had voted them in wanted them to do the next time they went to Washington.

In 1989, we heard the sad story of congressman Mickey Leland, killed in a crash in Ethiopia. I am genuinely sorry that Mr. Leland lost his life, but I still have to ask myself just how close is Ethiopia to the Texas legislative district he was representing? Was he doing what ambassadors and others in the State Department ought to be doing, and, had he been where he was supposed to be, would he still be alive today?

My own governor, Rick Perry of Texas, ran up about $300,000 of our state's bill last year just paying for bodyguards while he traveled all over the world. Now I wouldn't begrudge him a couple of weeks' paid vacation, and seeing as how he's the governor and all, I don't mind paying someone to keep him safe. But I have to ask myself how much time he spent in Texas last year. I would think $300,000 would cover a lot of vacation time (a few centuries' worth for me).

Now I realize that maybe you have to fly through Minneapolis to get to anywhere in Idaho, but I'm not sure. I'm thinking that if Senator Craig had been in his own state, none of this would have happened. What interests do Idahoans have in Minnesota, anyway? Maybe it was a scheduled stop, and if he's like me, he'd rather deplane than try to use one of those tiny, over-used things they call "restrooms" on airplanes. But I'm not sure.

After all the hubbub, and knowing that not only are there people cruising airport restrooms looking for dates, but there are also undercover cops cruising airports looking for people cruising airport restrooms looking for dates, I think I may just use those little rooms on the airplanes from now on. And not order that second soft drink.

In the meantime, I would like to remind governors, senators, and congresspersons, that we want you to tend to business in our own state. Any vested interest I have in Ethiopia, Aruba, or Paris, our President and/or Secretary of State can take care of. Pretend it's an election year. Stay in your own state.

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