By Ned Cantwell
New Mexico is revving up her legislative engine once again, our esteemed reps and senators ready to work their particular brand of magic. Other than political junkies like me, no one is going to pay much attention.
You know why? You guys induce yawns. Oh, you have your frivolous moments, like when you deliberate whether the official New Mexico question should be “red or green?” or, perhaps this session, “red or blue?”
Mostly, though, you spend your Santa Fe days pontificating on crushingly boring matters. There are likely to be more than 1,000 pieces of legislation introduced this 60-day session, most of which will cause Mr. and Mrs. New Mexico to nod off.
You want us to pay attention? Then you start paying attention to the gut issues that concern the ordinary guy who walks the main streets of your towns.
For instance, you might consider these new laws:
• Boom boxes. If a kid cruising Main Street is blasting rap loud enough to give a guy on the sidewalk an Excedrin headache, arrest him. No slap on the hand, either. Make him listen to one month of Lawrence Welk Champagne Music reruns.
• Wardrobe. As long as you are dealing with the younger set, outlaw those oversized trousers kids like to slouch in. And if they wear the baseball cap backwards, the bill facing the same direction as the butt, sentence them to five days in a shirt and tie.
• Line jumpers. If a woman — and it is normally a woman because men tend to pay more attention to the rules — squeezes in front of you in the “10 items only” line with a cart clearly containing 34 items, and, lady, I’M GOING TO COUNT THEM, ONE AT A TIME, VERY, VERY LOUDLY… Anyway, this should definitely be against the law and violators should spend one morning at the Department of Motor Vehicles office trying to get something registered or renewed.
• The obnoxious. Any sports event spectator who screams YOU DA MAN! will be directed to a special section “for idiots only.”
• Oasis of silence. Get a jump on 2008 by making New Mexico the only state in the nation where it is illegal to run paid political advertising for presidential candidates. Give each five free spots and, in return, make them donate to our schools the $50 million they were going to waste on irritating “and I approve this message.”
• Protecting the language. A three-month sentence of one hour a day memorizing Webster’s dictionary for any teenager overheard telling her friend, “so I’m like, do you want to go to the show, and he goes, I can’t go to the show unless Mike goes, and, I’m all…”
• Czardom. Why is it that only Gov. Bill Richardson can appoint Czars? I mean, he has a Czar for everything. And being a Czar is a lot cooler than being, say, a cabinet secretary, which is boring and requires legislative approval.
Thing is, all of those Santa Fe Czars are big wheels. Why can’t state legislators appoint ordinary citizens as Czars in their own districts? You could have a School Crossing Czar, for instance. Or a Guy Who Sits On The Bench Outside The Drugstore Czar. How about the Guy Who Goes to the Post Office Czar?
Come to think about it, maybe a Newspaper Columnist Czar? Probably not.
Ned Cantwell is a member of the New Mexico Press Hall of Fame. He welcomes response at: firstname.lastname@example.org