The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

February 3, 2014

Our View: More of the silly season

— Courtney Curtis, a Democrat from the St. Louis suburb of Berkeley, wants to make the high-five the official greeting in the state of Missouri. Not the fist bump or the handshake or even the kiss on the cheek. No, he thinks the high-five should be the official way Missourians greet each other.

Give us a break.

He told members of the House he thought it would be friendly, fun and could lift spirits. He thinks passing that legislation would get youngsters involved in politics, he told The Associated Press. Curtis is not unique in his attempts to take time away from the more serious matters of the day. Not by a long shot.

In 2012, the Missouri House tried to make the jumping jack the official state exercise of Missouri. Although at least in that case there was a hint of a tie to Missouri.

A measure sponsored by House Democrat Pat Conway, of St. Joseph, passed the House but fortunately failed in the Senate. Missouri-born Army Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing, by the way, is credited with inventing jumping jacks as a training drill when he taught at West Point in the late 1800s.

Maybe you will remember in 2013 when Democratic Sen. Ryan McKenna proposed banning the seersucker suit for anyone 8 and older because he thought they made adults look stupid. He later withdrew the bill but not before he made Missouri look stupid.

Missouri has a long list of official things that go beyond an official bird or an official tree. Our official dessert is an ice cream cone. Our official musical instrument is a fiddle. Our official insect is a honeybee. Oh, and yes, we have an official dinosaur. It’s the hadrosaur, or “duck-billed” dinosaur.

But you know what Missouri doesn’t have? It does not have an expanded Medicaid program for those thousands upon thousands of Missourians who work full time at low-wage jobs. Without Medicaid expansion, they cannot qualify for insurance benefits under the Affordable Care Act. Their employers don’t provide benefits, and their legislators apparently are busy doing other things.

Anyone got a high-five for that?

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