This Blog Post Has Not Been Approved by the General Assembly
This story in the Post-Dispatch reminds me of the official state animals and desserts that Missouri schoolchildren have been shepherding through the General Assembly lately.
At first glance, it may seem unrelated. The article I link to reports on the case of a proposed “Choose Life” license plate, which was rejected by legislators. The Alliance Defense Fund argues that rejecting the plate violated free speech, while the state maintains that it has veto power over messages on plates.
I don’t know enough about the legal considerations here to comment on which side is right. But I immediately thought of the official invertebrates, because that’s another issue on which the state arbitrarily endorses certain positions. The case was made for crayfish; now crayfish are “official.” Crayfish generally stay out of controversy, so it was easy to get them approved. Lawmakers are understandably a bit more hesitant to place their stamp of approval on a message about abortion.
We could avoid this problem altogether if we said, “Enough is enough.” No official animals, and no official messages on license plates. If people want to promote the “Choose Life” message, they can display bumper stickers. Fans of crayfish, ice cream, and whatever else can decorate their cars to reflect their preferences. The General Assembly doesn’t need to be involved.