Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Elementary School Lobbyists

On the agenda tomorrow for the District of Columbia Council is a public hearing to "assist the Council in selecting a fruit to be designated by an act of the Council as the official fruit of the District of Columbia."

Luckily, sixth grade students at Bowen Elementary do not have math, literature or science to study. Instead, they are researching fruits that might be appropriate as the official fruit of Washington, D.C. The story was introduced in November of 2005, when Council Chairman Linda Cropp introduced a resolution asking the elementary school students to find a suitable fruit based on its "abundance in the jurisdiction, its popularity in the jurisdiction, or for its symbolic meaning."

We might conclude that the Council has nothing better to do with its time. Au contraire - in November of last year, Council Members undertook many other tasks with taxpayers' money, including establishing the "Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs within the Executive Office of the Mayor," and establishing "standards for responsible business practices by large retailers by ensuring that they pay living wages, provide benefits, and respect free speech" through the Large Retailer Accountability Act of 2005, along with the usual tasks of making sure that you cannot park in the front lawn on private property and must use a hands-free device while driving and talking on your cell phone.

Of course, the Council Members only want to teach youngsters about the political process, as it states in the resolution: "That having school children propose an official fruit to the Council through proposed legislation will teach the children about the political process and the importance of public participation in civic life and show all our residents that all people, young and old, can get involved in politics and in their own government." After all, children should understand at a young age that all one has to do to impose his will on others is appeal to politicians to enact a law.

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