How Ethical Are Governor Jindal’s Morally Motivated Legislative Decisions? (by Jenn Teachworthy)

Introduction

dixieThrough the work completed over the last few months, I’ve learned an exceptional amount. The most notable is the value of my own voice—in writing and within the greater world. This is especially significant because I think it is very possible and more likely for students to successfully complete requirements for a writing class without really gaining sufficient skills or confidence needed to write for anything but a structured assignment to be read only for the course professor. This term taught me that my voice can be one advocating for change; that even if only one person hears me, it is worthwhile.

So, of course it was inevitable that completing the intimidating task of public forum writing would provide me with another quality experience in which lasting, realistic applied learning happens. In its entirety, this unique experience ties in almost seamlessly with the community theme I’ve focused on—primarily health & wellness with a sub-focus the first half of term on animals’ relationships to health & wellness. Finding a confidence in using my voice and an ability to make an effective written argument is so personally connected to my beliefs in manifesting good health and mental wellness that is has enabled me to feel just in writing a letter to the elected Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.

I was born and raised in southern Louisiana (New Orleans), thus equipping me with a special interest in the laws passed or vetoed in Louisiana (especially those affecting women’s health and those affecting education systems). Although I moved to Portland a few years ago (for a myriad of reasons), it would be false for me to say that the laws of Louisiana (and direction Governor Jindal is taking) did not offer a compelling example against moving to a city like Portland. So, here is a letter to Governor Jindal I decided would be emotionally and logically motivated, argumentatively.

 LETTER: How Ethical Are Governor Jindal’s Morally Motivated Legislative Decisions?

Jennifer Teachworth

New Orleans, LA & Portland, OR

November 2014

Bobby Jindal

Governor

State of Louisiana

Dear Governor Bobby Jindal:

As a woman born, raised, and primarily educated in Louisiana, I feel especially apt in informing you of my opinion of your current methods in legislative decisions as Governor. Additionally, I hope that you receive my opinions with an approach of open-minded deliberation and understanding.

The United States is especially quick to perpetuate the stereotype of its states in the South as uneducated, ignorant, and racist. Initially, I always took great offense to such stereotypes because they represented qualities that do not apply to my character, even though I am from Louisiana. As common with things we aren’t familiar with, I thought beliefs (both legal and social) were the same across the country, as they categorically exist in the South. What I realized is something you might also realize: diversity in all forms is necessary because it allows us to see other perspectives, even if they are perspectives we may not wholly agree with. However, because we are aware of these varying perspectives, we must also be aware of their prevalence.

My main concern in writing you is to highlight that your perspective is one that I cannot, and ought not, simply label as WRONG and move onto my own perspective, simply labeling the latter as RIGHT. Instead, I wish to highlight to you the possibility that your perspective (one that is arguably motivated with a particular moral lens of Christianity) is unreasonable. I state this with great certainty; there are many instances in which your government role allows you to pursue actions that negatively impact the direct experience and quality of life of many of your constituents. For example, your twelve-step plans for improving Louisiana often dictate the imposed “morality” of choices of women in their reproductive rights, such as in the cases of abortion or birth control (although it should be recognized that you have argued that you support women’s reproductive rights in your efforts to make birth control more accessible by supporting legislation which makes contraceptive medications available “over-the-counter” to women over 18 years, it should also be recognized that this legislative decision isn’t actually fully allowing women their inherent reproductive rights and makes birth control less accessible as a new classification of OTC would remove insurance coverage, thus making it unaffordable for the majority of women).

I write to you with a policy recommendation of that you eliminate your personal perspective when making legal decisions that affect a population whose perspective you cannot assume (i.e., women). The direct negative impact on women’s rights resulting from your rulings is far graver of a concern than the moral code you wish to impose on a population as diverse as Louisiana’s. I think that if you were to take such an approach, more educated and motivated people would wish to continue living and working in Louisiana, thus improving every aspect of your state in a way that empowers citizens and community members. More than substantial evidence in support of such results is visible when looking at communities and states that have adopted a progressive approach instead expecting growth, improvement, and innovation from limitations and prohibitions.

You ask for people to once again believe in Louisiana. I will once again believe in Louisiana when it is clear that Louisiana believes in its people.

Thank you for your time, consideration, and service.

Respectfully,

Jennifer L. Teachworth

III. Annotated Bibliography

Editorial. “Bobby Jindal’s Core Reversal.” Washington Post, The. N.p.: Y, 06. N. pag. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.

This article provides me with a perspective on Gov. Jindal’s controversial reversal of “Common Core”—the nationally moderated curriculum for primary education.

Cavuto, Neil. “Interview With Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.” Your World with Neil Cavuto (FOX News). N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.

This interview allows me a somewhat biased perspective on Gov. Jindal as a speaker. I say biased because produced by FOX News, notably an infamously right-winged media network. However, it is always beneficial to attain the best understanding of the intended audience. In this case, Governor Jindal is my audience.

Cook, David. “How Gov. Bobby Jindal Thinks Health-care Reform Should Work.” Christian Science Monitor (2014): 8. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.

This provides me with Gov. Jindal’s approach to reforming the US health care system; adds to talk of Gov. Jindal becoming the Republican presidential candidate favorite for 2016.

Hamburger, Tom. “Gov. Bobby Jindal’s Christian Conversion.” Washington Post, The. N.p.: Y, 05. N. pag. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.

This article discussions Gov. Jindal’s commencement speech in which he discusses his conversion from Hinduism to Christianity; gives perspective to Gov. Jindal’s reputation for supporting religiously-motivated legislature. It also allows me to understand how crucial a role religion has in Governor Jindal’s life, adding to my ability to gauge my own emotional appeal in argument to his religiously motivated decisions.

Hume, Brit, and Brian Wilson. “Interview with Bobby Jindal, Panel Discusses Bobby Jindal’s Statements.” Special Report with Brit Hume (FOX News). N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.

Jonsson, Patrik. “Judge Blocks Gov. Bobby Jindal’s Signature School Voucher Program.” Christian Science Monitor (2012): N.PAG. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.

This article discusses one of the many instances in which Gov. Jindal and other elected government officials disagree on legislature.

Khadaroo, Stacy Teicher. “Common Core: Bobby Jindal Says Obama Forcing a National Curriculum.” Christian Science Monitor (2014): N.PAG. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.

This article allows me another perspective on the Gov. Jindal’s veto of “Common Core,” a widely covered news event and story. This is interesting considering the change of New Orleans primary school system to becoming mostly charter schools. As a result, the education quality is constantly improving and there are reasons both for and against opposing the national curriculum.

Lyden, Jacki. “La. Governor Bobby Jindal In National Spotlight.” All Things Considered (NPR). N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.

I always find that I get a better “read” on the person of interest when listening to an interview on NPR. This was particularly helpful in the tone of approach to Gov. Jindal.

Parker, Kathleen. “Bobby Jindal’s Red Flag.” Washington Post, The. N.p.: Y, 02. N. pag. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.

The tone of this article is satirically critical in a way that not only provides me with facts in a different tone, but it helps me gauge the tone of approach I wish to take in my letter.

Seth McLaughlin, The Washington Times. “Jindal Fights Back in Democrats’ ‘war on Women’ Flirting with 2016 White House Run.” Washington Times, The (DC). N.p.: Y, 2014. 2. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.

This article provides interesting facts, including Gov. Jindal’s statements that he’s fought for women having easier access to contraception. What he excludes is what the Democrats include: his way would make the cost too high to be affordable.

Wallace, Chris. “Interview with Bobby Jindal.” FOX News Sunday. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.

Another FOX News interview with Gov. Jindal, discussing his plans for Louisiana progress.

Watts, Jim. “LOUISIANA: Jindal Line-Items 53 Vetoes.” Bond Buyer 369.33146 (2009): 8. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.

This brief piece discusses a few key services Gov. Jindal vetoed from budget, even though he says he is saving money to better equip critical services.

  1. IMAGE

See attached file “dixie.png”

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2 comments

  1. Brittany Plymell

    Jennifer, I really enjoyed reading your letter to the of Louisiana, Governor Bobby Jindal. You have a strong stance and did a great job of delivering it. It must have felt good to be frank to a high ranking official. You are right, you do have a voice, and now someone has heard it. Great job with your research as well. You seem to really know your topic.
    Brittany

  2. alisha

    I think that your letter to the governor of Louisiana was very compelling and was well worded. I like that you pulled up some of the articles and discussed them. I think that it is inspiring that you are so devoted in change for Louisiana.

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