Fort Mill Times

Gallimaufry - June 11, 2008

Jeff Shrewsbury is a freelance writer living in Fort Mill. You can see an archive of his other columns for the Fort Mill Times at his blog, www.shrewsbury.blogspot.com or send an e-mail to gallimaufry@comporium.net.
Jeff Shrewsbury is a freelance writer living in Fort Mill. You can see an archive of his other columns for the Fort Mill Times at his blog, www.shrewsbury.blogspot.com or send an e-mail to gallimaufry@comporium.net.

Among some of the last-minute stuff Gov. Mark Sanford polished off last week as the legislative session mercifully came to an end, he allowed a bill to pass into law that permits the state to begin issuing license plates this September that display Christian symbols and the words "I Believe."

As I wrote a few weeks ago, while it might seem to be a minor blip on the list of public issues we need to worry about, this asinine waste of time and money is just asking for trouble. I give it a matter of days or weeks before the first legal challenge is filed if it hasn't happened already (I wrote this a few days ago, so for all I know it's already on a docket somewhere).

Mark my words though, this kind of nonsense is just going to end up in court costing the taxpayers of this state in legal fees and embarrassment as the rest of the country sits back and laughs at dumb, ole South Cackalacky.

"Oh, that crazy backward state is at it again," they'll say. And they'll be right.

Personally, I can't wait for the Muslim groups, or the Wiccans, or Druids or Satanists or Scientologists for that matter to start filing their own lawsuits demanding the state issue them their own license plates with their own particular symbols and sayings on them. It's only fair. They pay taxes, too. And Sanford says the reason he let this bill go through is because if enough people get together and ask for the same license plate, he's OK with it.

So I guess he'll be okay with it for them too.

And when it does happen and taxpayers are suddenly asked to foot the bill to pay for tributes to the Prophet Mohammed or the Prince of Darkness, Lucifer himself, it'll be so much fun watching the self-righteous Christian bigots in the Legislature fall all over themselves to rationalize why those groups don't deserve equal treatment under the law.

Speaking of political kabuki:

By not vetoing or signing the license plate bill, Sanford used a political technique that allows him to remain officially neutral to the bill while still letting it become law. It's fascinating to me that he would care about his image on this particular issue considering some of the others he had no problem at all very publicly vetoing - such as health insurance for low-income children, an expanded public defender system and money to prevent drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse.

Apparently he's more afraid of irritating Christian groups than he is afraid of facing the mothers of low-income children who can't get medical care. And why not? They don't have lobbyists.

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