It's impossible not to be jealous of Utah Senate District 10.
Granted, maybe it's just because I'm a scribbler of once-per-week silliness in the newspaper, but I feel like life would be so much more hilarious on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley -- land of the wack-a-doodliest politicians this side of Michele Bachmann.
How lucky are the voters in District 10? They elected Sen. Aaron Osmond, a bona fide member of the entertaining Osmond family. His talent isn't singing and dancing or, like his Uncle Donny, dressing up as Joseph with an amazingly colorful dreamcoat.
Instead, Osmond has a knack for tickling the public's funny bone. Proof came last month when on the Utah Senate's website, he pulled on his big-boy pants and posted a blog titled: "A Practical Argument for Ending Compulsory Education in Utah."
To quote the late, great Slim Pickens from "Dr. Strangelove": "I've been to one world fair, a picnic, and a rodeo, and that's the stupidest thing I ever heard ... ."
Osmond wrote that ever since 1890, when Utah began requiring parents to send their children to public school, "our teachers and schools have been forced to become surrogate parents, expected to do everything from behavioral counseling, to providing adequate nutrition, to teaching sex education, as well as ensuring full college and career readiness."
"Surrogate parents"? Indeed, I'd never want my children to have respect for their teachers/authority figures, or for teachers to look after my child's welfare while at school. And there should be absolutely no "behavioral counseling" for the bully who assaults my daughter on the playground. As for "adequate nutrition" or "college and career readiness," who needs that?
In Osmond's World, we'd just let the kids live out their own version of "Lord of the Flies" -- without, of course, ever being introduced to such literature unless it had a spot on their parents' bookshelves.
Indeed, Osmond strikes me as the kind of man who would burn down our libraries while singing hymns with lyrics from the published works of Ayn Rand.
Yeah, this Nanny State hoo-ha is out of control. What Utah really needs are more learning-deprived children who age into unemployable adults.
Were he to listen -- fat chance of that happening -- I would argue the American standard of living and our nation's place in the world have risen precisely because of compulsory education. The custom of a sixth-grade education for our great-grandparents didn't get Neil Armstrong to the moon.
Then again, maybe Osmond is onto something here. Why stop at ending compulsory public education? There are lots of things the government compels me to do that seem burdensome:
* I'm tired of paying taxes to repair potholes in roads -- that's what shock absorbers are for.
* Why are we spending all that money on jails and prisons? I gotta gun; I'll use it if I need to.
* Food inspectors and public health departments are a waste of our tax dollars and a threat to free enterprise. If I get sick from eating a tainted burger -- and survive the E. coli infection -- you can bet I won't be eating THERE again: buyer beware.
* And speed limits are a pain -- they're always making me tardy when I'm late getting away from home. I should be able to drive as fast as I want, where I want, and if I T-bone someone in an intersection, well, my bad.
I've heard it said Americans tend to get the leadership we deserve.
This makes sense.
Osmond doesn't seem too funny anymore. "Scary," is more like it.
Email Don at email@example.com.