Have you ever watched the movie Forrest Gump? I can't say that I have ever sat down and watched the whole thing, but I know a lot of the quotes from it and you have probably heard some of them yourselves. One of the most quoted lines is "Stupid is as stupid does," and that is the theme of this week's column.
I watch a lot of news and quite frankly, it's probably a habit I need to break for my own well-being because it stresses me out. Just about every day there is something new that seems to amaze me but unfortunately, I am becoming less surprised by some of the stupid things I hear and read.
A recent news item detailed how a man walked out of a courtroom and the judge still declared him as legally dead. About 20 years ago, the man had "left the grid" so to speak and gone "underground." His wife couldn't find him so she had him declared "legally" dead so that she could get Social Security benefits for their kids.
Now the man has resurfaced, but the judge says there is a three-year statute of limitations for overturning a declaration of death, so he is still "legally" dead. Does this mean he is free to do whatever he wants to do since he is "dead" and you can't punish a dead man? And what about what someone might do to him? Stupid is as stupid does.
The second standout news item among many is a decision by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association. They have issued a directive telling schools not to hold post-game handshake lines because of incidents across the country of confrontations associated with the ritual. Coaches who ignore the ban are going to be personally liable for any problems that arise.
So, instead of taking care of the individual problems that happen, we are going to ban the practice of shaking hands and displaying good sportsmanship. That's a great lesson for our young people — don't worry about being held accountable for bad behavior, we will just prevent it from happening in the first place. And, in the process, we will not teach good sportsmanship. Stupid is as stupid does.
And for my last example, let's look at the current government shutdown. Congress and the president can't come to agreement on increasing the debt limit so they shut down the government and furlough hundreds of thousands of government employees. Then they pass legislation that promises to pay all those same employees for the time they miss as soon as they come to an agreement to kick the can down the road another few weeks or months. Isn't that just the same as giving everyone an extra paid vacation?
I don't expect the employees to have to pay the price for governmental dysfunction, but what message does this send? And how are the different agencies determining who is essential and who isn't? If I was a federal employee, I would love to be called "non-essential" in this situation. I could stay at home for a couple of weeks and get caught up on things and then come back to work and get backpay. And, since we don't seem to be willing to shrink government spending, I sure wouldn't worry about having the tag "non-essential' tacked onto my job.
Page 2 of 2 - But, it appears that many federal agencies are taking the approach that they should take advantage of this deplorable political situation and have instructed their employees to make this as hard on the public as possible. Now, that's a mature and responsible approach. I'm sure they think they are being real smart about this whole thing, but stupid is as stupid does.
Unfortunately, I don't think any of us can predict when all of this foolishness is going to end, but it better end soon or we might not have much of a country to worry about. As comedian Ron White says, "You can't fix stupid." But if we don't try, then things are just going to continue to get worse and worse.
I was commiserating with a friend of mine this morning and she said that as worried as we all are, we just have to remember that it's all in God's hands. I know she's right and I appreciated her reminding me of that fact. But since many of our leaders seem to want to ban all mention of God in this country, I doubt that they believe that.
Fortunately, there are still a lot of folks that do and we still have faith in our country. I guess I will just have to stop listening to so much news and start listening more to God. And, while we're on the topic of faith in God, I want to end the column on a positive note and tell my good friend Susan Cook that it sure is a pleasure seeing her back at work. She has been fighting cancer and is battling it with strength, determination and a steadfast faith in God. She humbles me and helps me put things into perspective. Our prayers and thoughts are with you and thank you for your positive witness.
Kevin Wilson writes a weekly column for the Daily News.