All right, gang, nice trip up from Clovis. Appreciate your good behavior. When you exit the bus, gather together and wait for the other buses to unload. Then we’ll head over to the Roundhouse Rotunda to talk about our visit to the Legislature today.”
(Oh, brother. These kids are driving me nuts.)
“OK. Everybody here? Good. Half of you are going to the House gallery, the rest to the Senate. Shout out your answers here. Any ideas of what we are going to see?”
“Democrats huffing!” “Republicans puffing!” “Tea Baggers protesting!”
“Now, settle down. You’re pretty close to the truth with the Democrats and the Republicans. But the others are called Tea Partiers, not Baggers. Susan, you seem to have a handle on this. Would you enlighten your fellow students?” (The school’s brightest girl takes center stage.)
“Although third party interlopers have tried to intervene, New Mexico basically operates under a two-party system where Democrats and Republicans get together once a year to name a horrible new State Creature, like a Slithering Sloth or something. In days gone by they also would argue all day and then retire to the Bull Ring to hammer out positive compromise legislation for the good of all the people. Those days are long gone.”
The teacher takes note: “Wait a minute, Susan. I think that is a pessimistic view. To what are you referring?”
“I am referring to the fact that the Legislature no longer has as its goal the passing of great legislation, but, in fact, is controlled by the two parties whose real objective is to embarrass one another.”
“That’s a serious accusation, Susan, and maybe you need to reconsider your position.”
“It’s not my position. I’m just telling you what I read in the newspaper. A bunch of Democrats wanted to replace the House Speaker, Democrat Ben Lujan. They were supposed to gather with a gaggle of Republicans to form a coalition to replace Mr. Lujan with another Democrat, Joe Cervantes. They had a deal going but the Republicans backed out.
“One of the Republicans who backed Mr. Cervantes is Tom Taylor, a big wheel from Farmington. Here is what he said about the reasons his fellow Republicans would not back Joe Cervantes.
“‘(Mr. Lujan) is the status quo. In the next election, there’s more negative if you’re just the status quo. There was a risk with Cervantes that maybe we’d have a big love fest and pass a lot of great legislation…it lessens your chance for a negative campaign in the next election.’”
Hearing this, the students become restive. A kid with baggy jeans so droopy off his butt they look as if a family of squirrels could be living there expresses his displeasure.
“Like, that’s crazy, dude! That Taylor guy just admitted the Republicans would rather back the Democrats into a corner than pass legislation to help New Mexico! Those Republicans are random.”
Susan corrects him. “It’s not just the Republicans. It’s the Democrats, too. And the Tea Party. And it is not just New Mexico. Congress is exactly like this. Here’s the deal. If a party is in power and gets good things done, that will help it stay in power. So the party not in power doesn’t want good things to get done. It just wants to run negative ads in the next campaign.”
The teacher tries to back-peddle to restore order. “This has been an interesting divergence, students, but on our way up the stairs, let’s take another tack. Since we’ve used the word today, can anyone spell ‘embarrass’? How about you, Baggy Pants?”
“Whoa, like, dude, it’s like, i-m-b-e-r-r-i-s.”
“Well, good try. We’ll work on it during the bus ride home.”
“No, wait, teach. I messed up. Imberris has an ‘e’ on the end.”
(Oh, good grief! Budget or not, teachers deserve more pay.)