HATE: HIGH CRIMES and MISDEMEANORS
Every parent knows the problem: You have an errant child, demanding attention through loud, bad behavior. Do you respond immediately to his bad behavior, or do you let it go unnoticed, refusing to give legitimacy to the bad behavior by giving in to the demand? Tough judgment call. And so it goes with our child of the legislature, Representative Jim Lucas. His inflammatory posts on the internet are not new, and appear to be his method of gaining attention to what is otherwise an unremarkable political career. We have seen this before from a series of legislators, the rest of whom are now, thankfully, gone. Unfortunately, the Tweeter in Chief still leads the nation in this kind of behavior.
I preferred to deny the attention. But sadly, it has merged with other themes of grave importance, and together, we must call it out. All of it.
Indianapolis grieves with the recent killing of three African Americans, all tragic circumstances. High crimes to be investigated? Gross recklessness? Unwitting negligence? Combined with an undercurrent of cultural bias that may be blatant, or so deeply ingrained that it be hidden even from those committing the acts. The black and brown communities know this kind of hate, but there are no monopolies here.
The LGBTQ+ community also has their share of victims. Take a look at the blatant scorn by Curtis Hill, who, as our Attorney General, should be an advocate FOR civil rights. Instead, his fight against equal marriage rights, his skirmish with BMV over identity and the right wing’s embrace of RFRA all show otherwise. And the men who stand to challenge Mr. Hill for the Republican Attorney General nomination? One participated in the famous RFRA signing photo, and the other actually nominated Mr. Hill at the last Indiana GOP convention.
Republicans claim to want inclusion, yet they allow themselves to be represented by the purveyors of hate. In another instance of the tail wagging the dog, the Republican legislature is, each year, bullied by its right wing into turning down comprehensive hate crimes legislation. I have fought in this battle many times. Of course, such a law coming out of Indiana will not stop hatred. But it would give a clear message that this kind of behavior has no place in our society and is not welcome.
You may recognize the phrase high crimes and misdemeanors as the language under which a public official can be impeached. Originally, it was a term of art, not meant to include a laundry list of acts that could be prosecuted under common law. Instead, it was a phrase specifically directed at public officials, and reserved for those instances where there was an abuse of public trust, and the injury was to all of society itself.
Surely, that is what we see here. The GOP should fix its issues. Or the voters should speak to them.