Opinion

Editor's column: The sullen, glum face of disaster in Olympia

The face of disaster: Sullen looks, glum conversation, a depressing atmosphere, the inability to accomplish anything meaningful in life ... yes, it’s all there, and we need not look at Haiti, but closer to home, in Olympia.

For two weeks, our elected legislators have been wondering about the meaning of life. Bills are being introduced, but without any enthusiasm. Maybe they’ll outlaw driving while talking on the cell phone. Whoopee. Maybe they’ll borrow millions to create meaningless jobs. Unnecessary, as hundreds are already employed doing meaningless jobs in Olympia.

There’s no money, so our legislators can’t have any fun. It’s like taking the football away from Brett Favre and telling him to play; or taking the sequins and feathers away from our men’s Olympic figure skating team and telling them to hit the ice. Sure, they’ll do it, but they won’t have any fun.

Mainly, our legislators just sit around on the porch, swigging moonshine and scratching the hound dog, hoping a fat check from the federal government arrives. The feds are broke, but that’s a reality we can’t think about right now.

Our state capital is little more than Appalachia on Mud Bay, without the folk music. We only have one state folk song, and that was written by Woody Guthrie at federal expense during the Great Depression, which we don’t want to think about. Besides, “Roll On, Columbia,” isn’t exactly true any more, except for that one undammed, radioactive stretch that rolls past the nuclear reservation. Hey, maybe we can revive the idea of paying people to write songs? Sorry, no money.

What our legislators need is cash to spend, but they can’t figure out who to squeeze. There’s no income tax to go after the upper class. The middle class is broke, and the lower classes want more handed to them. They’re thinking of taxing soda pop and candy, to get at those freeloading kids. But that won’t raise the billions we need to keep Boeing from packing up more of its stuff and leaving. They also want a $100 tax on all-electric vehicles. That should bring in $2,400 next year, or enough for one legislative brunch.

Perhaps what we need is a telethon, with cameras showing the sad faces of our penniless legislators, sitting at their desks playing dots and doodling, like they did in study hall. Celebrities would sing about their plight, begging for pledges from the viewing public. “How about ten dollars for this sad little senator from Sequim? Or a measly fiver for this representative from Republic! Reach into your wallets, Washingtonians, and help these helpless people!”

Chances our, our penniless legislators won’t tug at the heartstrings of the viewing public. Graying hair and pot bellies just don’t get much sympathy. In the end, they may simply have to spend the money they have, and no more.

But hey, that’s no fun.

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