Monday, June 6, 2011

It’s a whole nuther world when one ventures east of Indianapolis Boulevard

I’m sure Sunday was a day of glory and gloating in Indianapolis, as Big Ten officials announced that their brand-new end-of-season football championship game will be played in the Hoosier capital city.

In choosing to make Indianapolis a place of sporting significance beyond the Memorial Day auto race, the Big Ten rejected a bid to play those games in Chicago – specifically at Soldier Field.

CONFERENCE OFFICIALS SAID one factor in their decision was that Indianapolis has a domed arena in which to play football, while Soldier Field in December would be downright cold – if not snowing as well.

Now some will argue that real football ought to be played in such conditions. But I’m not going to get hung up on the decision, largely because I think such a game should be played on a college campus. This should be a debate between Champaign, Ill., and Bloomington, Ind. (along with Madison, Wis., and Ann Arbor, Mich., to name a few).

So fans of Big Ten football will get to venture off for a pre-bowl game in Indianapolis. Maybe that city is capable of providing an integrated sporting experience that allows people to ignore their surroundings (rather than all the distractions of Chicago – which are what make it a far more intriguing city to live in).

Once the games are over, we all have to return to the real world. And in that world, I can’t help but wonder what goes through the minds of Indianans when they contemplate the political spat their state is now engaged in with the United States of America. There is a reason I don’t like venturing any further east than Indianapolis Boulevard (about two miles from the aptly-named State Line Road).

THERE WERE A few states this spring that had their conservative ideologue-led Legislatures pass measures meant to take those right-wing ideals and ram them down the throats of the masses.

Wisconsin drew much of the attention in that regard. Yet let’s not ignore our neighbors to the east – some of whose legislators fled to the sanity of Illinois to escape getting caught up in the partisan nonsense.

One of the measures that GOP-led state Legislature passed was their attack on Planned Parenthood. Indiana officials want to cut off the funding the group receives from state government because that group helps women at its health clinics if they are interested in aborting a pregnancy.

Which led to the federal government, in the form of the Department of Health and Human Services, telling Indiana officials last week that they are the ones in violation of the law.

THEY WENT SO far as to threaten to cut off Medicaid money for any services, unless Indiana state officials do something to repeal the bill they approved this spring that Gov. Mitch Daniels signed into law.

Which means we’re now in a staring match. Who will blink first?

If this follows through to conclusion with everybody standing pat, it would mean that all those people who live in Indiana who rely on Medicaid to cover their medical expenses would not get their treatment.

Indiana officials already are trying to spin this situation as one where the federal government will be willing to risk the health and lives of low-income people, and they desperately want to believe the public at-large will see things that way. Yet another reason to vote against Barack Obama come 2012.


I think the bulk of people will see this as the state willing to let the health and/or lives of its residents be put at risk so they can make some morally-crass ideological statement about abortion.

The only people who are going to see things through the Hoosier-colored glasses are those whose ideological hang-ups are so intense that they can’t accept the reality that abortion is a legal medical procedure.

The idea that the state should be doing ANYTHING to make it more complicated to obtain an abortion is of questionable morality. It definitely isn’t an issue where they can claim the moral high ground.

THE TRICK IS to see how long the political stalemate will last before the day comes that some sort of emergency legislative session is held in Indiana so as to do the legalistic paperwork that would alter their new law just sufficiently for sense to prevail.

I’m sure the political people there will rant and rage against the federal government imposing some mandate on them. I’m just curious to know if any Hoosier-type speaks honestly enough to let the words “state’s rights” slip off his tongue. That would really make this issue all too similar to the old days when states tried to justify morally repugnant policies solely on the grounds that they had the “right” to do so.
DANIELS: Calling a special session?

Personally, I think such policies are all the more reason to think of it as a pathetic joke every time Daniels goes on WLS-AM and makes some sort of anti-Chicago or anti-Illinois diatribe. There may be a way of viewing Indiana as a place that has a lower-tax rate. But living there means you also have to put up with goofs in charge who will push this ideological tripe.

Enjoy your five years of football games, Indianapolis. If there’s any cosmic justice, Indiana and Purdue universities won't play in any of them.


No comments: