As if we need another means to measure how far government has strayed from the narrow intent of our nation’s founders, we give you the current flap in Oklahoma.
A collection of conservative lawmakers became outraged that the song “Do You Realize??” by native sons Flaming Lips was poised to become the official state rock song.
As reported by The Associated Press: “Rep. Corey Holland, R-Marlow, was offended when band member Michael Ivins wore a red T-shirt with a yellow hammer-and-sickle emblem, a traditional symbol of the Communist Party, during a visit to the Capitol last month.”
Wayne Coyne, the band’s frontman, said he was offended by Holland’s implication that the band is un-American based on nothing more than a T-shirt design. Coyne also tossed in the seemingly obligatory slam that Holland and those like him are “small-minded religious wackos.”
Also from AP, “Gov. Brad Henry resolved the issue by announcing he would sign an executive order proclaiming ‘Do You Realize??’ the official rock song of Oklahoma.”
Resolved? More like bulldozed.
Oklahoma is not alone in this by a long shot. Just about every state has a collection of government-sanctioned designations for almost anything you can imagine.
The official state freshwater fish of Louisiana is the white perch, Utah’s official state rock is coal and the Hadrosaurus foulkii is the official dinosaur of New Jersey.
New Mexico has two state songs and a state ballad.
That anyone in public office is spending any time at all arguing for or against such inanity points to the fundamental waste that is rife at all levels of government.
Other than appeasing some gaggle of gadflies, what is the value of spending taxpayer-funded time naming “the official city/state/national” anything? These designations provide quiz fodder for elementary students, and not much more.
And while it could be argued that some designations are educational, in helping to define indigenous flora and fauna, it is pointless to debate something as transitory and open to personal taste as popular music (think of the standard “Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin” debate).
To paraphrase the song in question, we offer this to the lawmakers in Oklahoma and elsewhere: “Do you realize, that you have just wasted our time?”