The wisdom of Forrest Gump
Rusty Wilkerson is a columnist for my hometown newspaper, The Kingsport-Times News. While in Kingsport, Tenn., recently, I picked up a copy of the paper and found Wilkerson reporting on two stories of government actions worthy of a nod from Forrest.
Wilkerson reported that, in 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency mandated that an ingredient that did not yet exist be blended into gasoline and diesel fuel by 2011. So far, oil companies have failed to comply.
Why? Because the ingredient still does not exist and, if it ever does exist, it will not exist for several more years. But, as Wilkerson related, the law is the law. The EPA has decreed that companies who do not comply will be required to pay monetary penalties for non-compliance.
Wilkerson, who worked in the federal and municipal sectors said, “In the public sector, logic and common sense may have absolutely nothing to do with decisions made by politicians. To hunt for such things will only lead to frustration. “Or, as Forrest Gump said, “Stupid is as stupid does.”
The second instance of government brilliance is found at the United States Air Force Academy. Now the Academy in Colorado Springs likes to think of itself as the more cerebral of the academies.
Not long ago, some Air Force vet said to me, “You do realize, do you not, that the Air Force people are the ‘smart kids in the class?’” I conceded that he might be correct but responded that, if that were true, then he must certainly realize that the Marines are the toughest kids in the class (Okay, SEALs, Rangers, and Green Berets are tough kids, too). But I digress.
It seems the Air Force Academy, that bastion of academic gee-whizness, spent $80,000 to construct a rock garden and fire pit for use by pagans, Wiccans, druids, witches, and the various native American faiths. I wasn’t aware that the Air Force Academy had been overrun and infested by pagans, Wiccans, druids, witches, and the like. If they have, the academy and the entire command structure of the Air Force have more problems than can be imagined.
But it’s not just the Feds that come up with inane instances of Gump-ness. A number of years ago, the city fathers (oops, too politically insensitive) – the city parents of a southern California town passed a law that the lights planted in citizens’ yards near the sidewalks of their homes to illumine their way at night could be no more than 18 inches high.
Why? What about 18 inches is more correct than, say, 17 1/4 inches? Or 18 1/8 inches? Why did the local politicians even care at all about the precise measure of the height of these lawn lights? Because they can and because “stupid is as stupid does.”
Forrest was right about something else. He said, “My momma always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’” That’s certainly true — and if the government has anything to do with it, you’re gonna find a bunch of nuts.
And, “That’s all I have to say about that.”
[David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, 4881 Hwy. 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277. Services are held Sundays at 8:30 and 10 a.m. (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and is the mission pastor of Christ the King Fellowship in Champaign, IL. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.]