Stacey Campfield Pressure Cooker Joke: Terrorism is No Joke, and Legislators Shouldn't Be Either

In a month of unimaginable horror, many legislators continue to make a joke out of legislating. From the ridiculous to the dangerous, America is sending a strong message to the world that our once sacred rule of law is deteriorating into a B-rated comedy with B-rated actors. 

1. In Missouri, Democratic State Sen. Ryan McKenna (D-Jefferson County) proposed an amendment to outlaw seersucker material for citizens over 8-years-old. He even thought so little of the process that he hand wrote the amendment. Of course, he withdrew the amendment and admitted it was a joke. A joke causing taxpayers both time and money in a time when his fellow Missourians were facing both floods and tornadoes; to say nothing of the deadly serious conversations surrounding Medicaid.

2. Making it abundantly clear that schools should focus more heavily on civics or at least vocabulary, Nelson Georgia City Council makes gun ownership mandatory for every head of household. Apparently, the definition of “right” now means “obligation” for the citizens of Nelson.

3. Four Senators prioritized your job or lack thereof while 56 prioritized their job.

4. In wake of the bombings in Boston, one Tennessee legislator joked about registering pressure cookers while Kansas focused the immigration of terrorists to America.  

5. Texans mourned while their representatives debate the merits of regulating or deregulating poker.

Missouri failed attack on seersucker will be forgotten. The court will overturn Nelson’s mandatory gun ownership law. In Texas, poker will be played with or without legislative approval. In the end, their constituents will be no better off and unless we could magically calculate the cost of a eye-rolling by families and companies considering a relocation to their state; we are left to assume they will be no worse off.

But when Congress makes a joke of legislating, the world watches.

When Congressional members fail to even pretend to be interested in our economy, it damages not only our reputation but our stability as well. Our global structure isn’t unlike the pack structure of animals. Most of the pack needs the head of the pack to lead but there is always a few who are looking for any sign of weakness as their invitation to step up. Washington is showing weakness and the world is growing more and more insecure.

Earlier this year, we had the opportunity to honor the children of Sandy Hook by taking serious mental health and responsible gun ownership in a modern America. Congress out right rejected that opportunity to even discuss it. Now, we face another chance to display the kind of monumental courage displayed by the survivors of the bombing in Boston and while the world watches, Washington is turning its collective back on this opportunity.

Chechnya has been at war since 1990. It is imaginable that philosophically, America would have been supportive of the Chechen struggle for independence and religious freedom. Why we couldn’t help is as simple as it is complicated. They wanted freedom from Russia in a time when the Cold War was thawing and Russia was a nuclear power. The bombers, through first hand memory and family history, knew the ravages of a brutal, bloody and never-ending war. They alone made the decisions they did but it is irresponsible of Congress to use their depravity as a symbol of depravity in all immigrants fleeing from genocide. If we had held such a philosophy, we as a nation would have missed out on knowing the Lost Boys of Sudan.

Legislating is important and powerful. It is never a joke and it can never be encapsulated in a soundbite. Our cities deserve legislators who are careful with the reputation of their community as is the people who live there. Our states deserve legislators who are serious about economic stability as is the families they represent. America deserves legislators who are as somber in the execution of their duty as are the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines at their disposal.