The way in which I heard that Iowa had a new texting/driving law was quite ironic. And sadly humorous.
Get this – I was travelling on I-235, headed to one of our hospitals on a pastoral visit, when a reporter broke the news on our local talk radio station. Even as he detailed the legislature’s vote, I glanced to my right at the large black truck coming into the lane next to me. No, the driver – a young lady – wasn’t swerving or driving badly; she was operating the vehicle just fine. But she was applying make-up in full force with multiple fingers, and handling the steering wheel with her knee(s). Her head, like a fishing bobber, was bouncing up and down as she rhythmically glanced from visor mirror to windshield, using every other second to finish farding (that’s the official term for the act of applying makeup while driving).
Okay, let me see if I understand correctly: No texting, but facials are okay? Yep, that’s what I thought. Hmm. Does something seem a little screwy here? You bet it does! But I doubt seriously if our legislature will ever have the guts to outlaw last-minute applications of Mary Kay by Mary and Kay. But we can sure vilify texting.
It seems a more prudent and consistent approach – assuming those leaders who put this forward felt they had to encroach in that way upon yet another aspect of a citizen’s life – would have been to deal with distracted and dangerous driving. I mean, have you not seen Aunt Ethel who, at 79, putts around town with her equally old poodle sharing the driver’s seat and hanging out the window while she does her best to stay in the proper lane? At least Ethel isn’t texting! And what about ole’ Chester who is dropping a couple of burgers down the chute in record bites, all while balancing his over-sized Dew on the cup holder and wiping drops of ketchup off his seat and shirt with greased-laced finger tips? But at least he isn’t texting!
Why does this action by the Iowa legislature not surprise me? Because its par for the course in recent years. It seems that our recent majority has been really good at making laws about things that don’t matter while avoiding weightier matters of life, morality, and justice.
Try this hypocrisy on for size: While some of our elected leaders debated texting while driving, the Iowa House ignored the will of the people in regards to fundamental marriage issues, continued to approve the murder of unborn babies, and lied about its own financial condition. But at least no one will send a quick text over their Blackberry from their car next July. Whew…I feel safer.