The longer the legislative session creeps along, the more unpredictable and possibly more dangerous it becomes.
The somewhat less partisan makeup of the Legislature and a disjointed majority caucus in both Houses has resulted in fewer outlandish pieces of legislation this year, although we have had a sprinkling of foolish bills. Protesting the United Nations' Agenda 21 environmental standards comes to mind. Yet the more we linger waiting for a Medicaid compromise, the more compelled some members become to promote their foolhardy notions of improving or impeding government functions.
One idea is to unseat the Senate president, a man admired by some for staying true to his convictions no matter how arcane their foundation seems to others. The convictions appear inspired by the frontier myth of total self-reliance (the cowboy will find a way on his own) and a myopic notion of American exceptionalism (the neoconservative version that sees America as inherently superior, gifted uniquely by God and above all other nations). Whether that is a virtue or flaw, there is nothing to be gained by his ouster. We have more important things to attend to in these waning days, namely a budget.
The governor's enlightened insistence on the Medicaid expansion has generated many a paroxysm in her own party and paralyzed or at least retarded budget negotiations. Herein lies the danger to many citizens, schools, the health-care and social-welfare systems and the business community. Defeating the expansion will have a devastating effect on everyone in the state, not just the poor.
I would urge upon the majority party another version of American exceptionalism, one rooted in the Athenian notion that we lead because we are adventurers on the same ship of state totally dependent on one another. Exceptional because we have mastered interdependence more adroitly than many other nations.
Our Declaration of Independence laid upon our forbears a broad and richly interwoven cloak of interdependence that was essential to their success. Our inspired and uniquely constituted form of governmental checks and balances that protects individual freedom and harnesses collective good is the envy of the world; exceptionalism through interdependence.
Freedom demands interdependence because it is completely dependent upon and intertwined with the concept of shared responsibility. We have never stood alone in this country, not even the most solitary and adventurous of cowboys. We have succeeded so well because we have stood together in good and bad times.
Our market economy depends heavily upon a functional government. Our government depends upon a robust, entrepreneurial and flexible market economy. That interdependence is at the core of our exceptionalism.
Our public education system, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are just a few of the components of a functional government that stimulates the economy as well as provides opportunity for the poorest and protection for the most vulnerable. The Medicaid expansion has wide and bipartisan support because it is a reflection of our exceptionalism. Let's get this done and adjourn so people can feel safe again.
David Bradley represents District 10 in the state Senate. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org