Time for more of my rambling political opinions. Buckle up–I’m on my soapbox!
Why is there no educational requirement for people who want to hold public office? Want to run your local township? How about be state senator or representative? Maybe you want to run for Congress–the US Senate or House of Representatives. What educational experiences do you need in order to do that? The answer is NONE.
No law degree, no social work education, no sociology degree–NOTHING. Our representatives aren’t required to have even a high school diploma. No wonder they all look to “think tanks” funded by conservative billionaires to write legislation. Take the Bathroom Bills coming up all over the place. [Which wasn’t an issue before they started writing legislation about it.] This is just like the anti-marriage equality bills that came with Bush II and the anti-abortion bills running rampant in the Southern and Midwestern states. [Even though an increasing majority of Americans are pro-choice and most also aren’t interested in discriminating against same-sex couples.] It’s not like there are a bunch of like-minded legislators out there who get struck by the same idea at the same time. It’s the power of the State Policy Network, which has conservative think tanks in 48 states (New Jersey and North Dakota are missing out), funded by the Koch brothers and other like-minded billionaire conservatives. Their purpose is to push through their agenda without regard to what Americans actually want.
These think tanks give amateur legislators boilerplate bills. It’s like having someone do your research paper for you while you run around glad-handing, cutting funding for schools, and eating posh dinners. Lazy legislators run to the House and Senate with the purloined homework and push through the bills so that they ensure funding for their one re-election campaign.
Term limits don’t help the situation–there’s massive turnover in the Michigan legislature. Losing staff that knows what they’re doing means nobody is ever there long enough to become an expert. Years ago, I voted against term limits for that reason. People don’t go into politics for a temporary job. Nobody with the proper educational background is going to go into a field that will force them to constantly campaign and find new jobs.
Think about what might happen if we required legislators to have an actual EDUCATION before taking office? What if we made them student teach in the public schools–urban schools–or spend days with social workers? And what might happen if we let them master their job skills before kicking them aside? They’d be beholden to the electorate instead of the State Policy Network. They’d keep our best interests in mind instead of those of the few.
Somebody should start a petition to pass a law in each state that requires legislators to have degrees in a variety of areas.
Now, I’m ranting as an educator who has been the target of many useless laws in the past few years and as the person who had the foresight to base my first bad guy on the governor who didn’t mind that thousands of people were being lead-poisoned due to the policies in his administration. All those years ago, I knew he wasn’t interested in actually helping anyone but himself. Of course, he wasn’t the focus of the story. Check it out here: http://amzn.to/1ZJ8wRn