Politics can be quite the poetic muse - especially statehouse politics, it turns out.
We recently challenged members of the Public Insight Network to write about politics in the Sunshine State - in a limerick.*
Why a limerick? We confess it was to introduce some levity into an arena that may seem wonkish to some. State policies will be the focus of a Feb. 25 Town Hall that we're hosting with The Miami Herald. The event, sponsored by Global Integrity, will bring together a panel of state legislative leaders to discuss those policies.
Perhaps inspired by Miami-raised inauguration poet Richard Blanco, the submissions so far have been impressive.
Any political subject was up for grabs, but some of the best limericks were those inspired by government ethics and transparency – or the lack of it – in the Capitol.
Marion Brady from Cocoa writes:
The way gerrymandering works,
Encourages party-line jerks.
If we'd just change the rules
We could dump all those fools,
And enjoy democracy's perks.
A state court recently ruled that challenge to Florida’s Senate redistricting plan, put in place just last year, will be moving forward.
A review of state governments across the country gave Florida an A for the openness of the redistricting process. But groups like the League of Women Voters, which filed the lawsuit against the legislature, say that the new districts violate laws against gerrymandering.
Charles Kersey from Lakeland was inspired by the influence of lobbyists.
From the times of Hernando De Soto,
Tallahassee's not changed one iota,
It's still run by takers--
self-styled "policy makers--"
Increasing their lobbyists quotas.
According to Dan Krassner, executive director of Integrity Florida, about 2,000 lobbyists descend on the legislature each year to influence the outcome of the 60-day legislative session (March 5, 2013 through May 3, 2013). But those lobbyists may have fewer tools available if an ethics reform bill, supported by state Senate President Don Gaetz, passes.
The Legislature could use the boost. According to a December poll by Quinnipiac University, about 44 percent of the Florida public disapproves of the job the Florida Legislature is doing, and only 35 percent approved.
Got a limerick for us? Send it to us by clicking here.
* For those who do not recall their junior high school English class (who does?), a limerick is a short poem with a rhyme scheme of (AABBA) and a particular meter more easily explained through example. Here’s one from the Listener Limerick Challenge on Wait, Wait...Don’t Tell Me.
As a city bird, I can't show doubt.
So I might come across as a lout.
But traffic is loud
and so are the crowds
So I can't just chirp, I must shout.