With this post, Ethics Alarms announces a new continuing category for ethics infamy: Incompetent Elected Officials.
We tend to focus on corruption, dishonesty, conflicts of interest and lies when identifying unethical public officials, but it is the wildly incompetent of the breed who might carry the most ethics baggage of all. An incompetent elected official not only is irresponsible for taking on leadership that he or she is unable to deliver due to a lack of brains, skill, experience or judgment, but also keeps a more deserving and able individual from a distinguished position that needs him, jeopardizes the public, and undermines trust in the government generally. The public’s ethics are also implicated by the incompetent official’s ascension to power, as the truly inept can usually be identified with a modicum of diligence and care. Incompetent and irresponsible officials require the assistance of incompetent and irresponsible voters.
Thus incompetent elected officials warrant special attention. And the first incompetent elected official to be honored as the Ethics Alarms Incompetent Elected Official of the Month is….Alabama Republican State Senator Gerald Allen!
Last week, Allen introduced another of the popular anti-Sharia law measures that several states have passed, one that would bar Alabama courts from considering Islamic law in their rulings. The measures themselves are questionable pieces of legislation, as none of the states that passed them have actually had any court do what the laws prohibit, but never mind—Sen. Allen goes well beyond such quibbles. When newspaper reporter Tim Lockette asked Allen what his bill would ban…in other words, “What is Sharia?”, Allen responded: “I don’t have my file in front of me. I wish I could answer you better.”
That’s right: Senator Allen didn’t know what he was trying to ban, which means he also didn’t know why he was trying to ban it. In fact, his bill lifted a Wikipedia entry, and he obviously hadn’t even read that. Somebody must have told him that Sharia was, like, really not cool, and that was good enough for him.
Needless to say, introducing legislation without having a vague idea what it is about is scraping the bottom of the barrel in unprofessional, lazy, reckless, ignorant and incompetent conduct for an elected lawmaker. The stunning disrespect such an act shows for the public and our process of government, not to mention the law, is difficult to comprehend. Allen is a drooling cretin, or he has the work ethic of a slug. Either way, he should not be allowed in a state legislature unless it is to mop the floors and put out the trash. As for the civicly ignorant voters who voted for such a clown: they are all a disgrace to Alabama.
Sen. Allen gave due notice of his inadequacies back in 2005, when he offered a bill to ban public libraries and public school libraries from stocking plays and books by gay authors, or any that included gay characters. “I don’t look at it as censorship,” said Allen at the time. “I look at it as protecting the hearts and souls and minds of our children.”
Yes, Sen. Allen didn’t think book banning was censorship. He didn’t know what his own bill was about back then either.