Small Talk About Big Issues

Touching Base with Common Sense

An Olive Branch with Thorns?

Symbol of Peace

The Olive Branch has long been a symbol of peace.  Some suggest the symbolism began in the Bible when a Dove returned to the Ark with an Olive Branch in its mouth.  Others set forth the proposition that the Olive Branch as a symbol of peace finds its beginnings in Greek Mythology.  Regardless of its symbolic genesis, today the Olive Branch represents to the human heart a gesture of peace. 

Earlier this month, Speaker Elect Brian Bosma made Hoosier history by appointing Representative Steve Stemler (D-Jeffersonville) and Representative Chet Dobbs (D-Merrillville) to head important state committees.  Rep. Stemler will Chair the committee on Commerce, Small Business, and Economic Development, and Rep. Dobbs will Chair the committee to Reduce Government Regulations and Laws.

 While history is confused over the origin of the Olive Branch as a symbol of peace, there is no such confusion as to what Indiana Speaker of the House B. Patrick Bauer meant when he said the appointment of two Democrats to key positions by Speaker Elect Brian Bosma was an “olive branch with thorns”.

 By appointing minority party members to key roles, Speaker Elect Bosma incurred the wrath of Rep. Bauer who accused the new Speaker of the House with extending an “olive branch with thorns”.  According to Rep. Bauer, the appointments are an effort on the part of the Republicans to insure the Democrats “share blame on politically charged bills that might become election liabilities”.  Rep. Bauer tries to stir further the political pot by suggesting to Republicans that Speaker Elect Bosma does not believe there are any Republicans capable of handling the appointments.

As for Speaker Elect Bosma’s position, he is quoted in the Courier-Journal today (Nov. 29, 2010) as saying, “It’s important to me to raise up a new generation of legislative leaders that are prepared for today’s problems and will leave yesterday’s petty battles behind”.

I like the idea of a “new generation” of leaders that will “leave yesterday’s petty battles behind”.  Not only do I like the idea, it is imperative to our State that such a political climate is fostered.  Too long have “petty battles” hindered our State’s progress.

Majority Speaker of the House's picture hanging higher than the Minority Leader's

A closer look at our State Capitol clearly demonstrates the “petty battles” Rep. Bosma references.  Let me mention just two very stupid examples of pure pettiness on the part of our Indiana Legislators.  First, the Majority party sits in better chairs than does the Minority.  Second, the Majority party pictures are placed higher on the wall than those of the Minority.  While these two things are nauseatingly simple and seem harmless at first glance, they are evidence of a greater, far more sinister, issue: division.

People who serve in government, our legislators, are elected to serve the people.  I understand that during the election process it is most certainly about parties and power.  After the election, however, it should be about the good of the people, the business of the State, and petty politics should be left at the door.

Admittedly, some reading this blog will think I am living and sleeping in a dream world of fiction and fantasy.  Maybe I am.  However, I do not want reality if believing that grown men and women should work together to further the prosperity of my State.  I do not want reality if believing that my tax dollars are wasted hanging pictures higher than others are and insuring some chairs are not as nice as others are.  I do not want reality if believing there are more important things for my legislators to do than bicker over petty political power-games.  I do not want reality if believing my government should be united to provide the greater good for me.

I am ready for that “new generation” of legislators of which Mr. Bosma speaks.

I close this blog with three questions, one for Mr. Bauer, one for Mr. Bosma, and one for all our legislators:

Mr. Bauer.  Can you learn to govern with the greater good of the people more paramount in your mind than party politics and power?

Mr. Bosma.  You have started down an unprecedented road, how far will you extend your Olive Branch of Peace?

Legislators.  Can you work together like good boys and girls or do you need to visit the “time-out” corner?


November 29, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,


  1. Another great blog….good observations, good analogies, excellent questions. It is amazing that we elect people to offices that demand such a high regard for the will of the people. We think we have elected heroes only to find out we have instead elected small minded, self centered, petty opportunists. I have racked my brain trying to determine the underlying cause of such pettiness. My only conclusion so far is the power that political parties have in the legislative process. It seems to me that political parties polarize the elected legislators.


    Comment by Kettig Coghill | November 30, 2010 | Reply

  2. I congratulate John for his astute observations as far as the politics in the Indiana House of Representatives. I was on the Senate side for the swearing in of new State Senator Jim Smith and remember praying “Lord, they better get it right this session.” As my dear friend Rick Berry (present Madison City Council President who is a conservative Democrat) rightly observed, “It should not be about being a D or an R, but being about being an A (American). The American way of getting things right at this critical juncture of our society is the conservative, Constitutionally justified method of government and that better be a caveat to both political parties. Basically if they (both parties) continue to take taxpayer monies and spend said monies for projects, etc. not allowed by the Indiana state Constitution (a strict interpretation), they should be fired at the next election.
    Baron Hill was an easy target … the pompous little man that he was, but the next politicians will be that easy as well as I believe theft is an arrogant act which has been the norm rather than the exception in Washington, DC, as well as Indianapolis as well as Jefferson County as well as the City of Madison, Indiana. If the D’s and the R’s don’t get it right, then they get … f__ired!

    Comment by The War Eagle | December 4, 2010 | Reply

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