Jim Peterson, yes, the President of Montana’s 2011 Senate has proposed SB 216… to adopt the cowboy code of ethics as Montana’s code. Just what does this mean for us? Well….. not really anything. Governor Schweitzer has already threatened it with a veto as Montanans really don’t require the legislature’s assistance to enact a code to live by. Let’s just pretend this does indeed become the “law” of the land though…. we better investigate.
What is the Cowboy Code of Ethics? According to James P. Owen, author of Cowboy Code of Ethics, the code of the west was unwritten, but every cowboy knew what it was. He broke the code into ten principles. My commentary is in red.
1 Live each day with courage.
Recent examples of courageous behavior in the 2011 legislative session include the six Republicans who broke with the prohibitionist party and voted against Speaker Milburn’s bill to repeal medical marijuana.
2 Take pride in your work
I’ve seen lots of pride in this session but not much work. Let me rephrase that, not much work at fulfilling campaign promises to create jobs.
3 Always finish what you start
This one is definitely debatable this session. I’m not sure I want them to finish anything they started.
4 Do what has to be done
Key word here is “HAS”.HAS to be done. In my opinion, that would include balancing the budget and finding some way to stimulate the economy. HAS refers to an immediate NEED. Do we NEED a frivolous bill to symbolically request that Congress leave the UN? Do we NEED the Code of the West? Do we NEED to require couples seeking a divorce 10 hours of costly marriage counseling? Do we NEED a Montana militia?
5 Be tough, but fair
Fairness generally means conformity of standards….. eeeeek! Equality. I’m not even going to get into the repercussions of this becoming our big tough state code. A recent example (although not even close to where this will eventually be headed) is the committee hearing on Milburn’s medical cannabis repeal bill. While all 28 repeal proponents were able to tell their sob stories about how marijuana has ruined their tiny little lives, most of the 86 opponents were only allowed to state their names, how to spell them, and their position on the bill… which should have been obvious considering they were considered the OPPOSITION.
6 When you make a promise, keep it.
Damn it! We are going to have to keep going back to those campaign promises, aren’t we? I guess Montana’s new Cowboy Code isn’t so bad after all. We can just say, ooops, you broke the code, why on earth are you running for reelection?
7 Ride for the brand.
I think we all can agree we need to define the brand we are a ridin fer. Is that thar brand the party or the mighty state of Montucky?
8 Talk less and say more.
I’d imagine this is the rule they wish I would have adhered to most often this session. Voters will say a lot with a stroke of a pen in 2012. Not a word needs to be uttered.
9 Remember that some things aren’t for sale.
That’s right. Some things aren’t for sale. Our souls, for one. You save yours, I will save mine.
10 Know where to draw the line.
Give up now. Ask yourself, does this bill create any jobs? Does this bill in any way, shape or form repair our economy? Does this bill fix any IMMEDIATE need? Does this bill fulfill campaign promises to my constituents?
And that concludes my rant.