New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez has a news conference before the Yankees play the Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field in Chicago on Monday, Aug.,5, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Cherney)
On Monday night, Alex Rodriguez was booed at Sox Park when he made his first major-league appearance of the year. That same day, Major League Baseball had announced it was suspending Rodriguez for 211 games for his connection to Biogenesis, a laboratory that produces performance enhancing drugs.
That gave me an idea: if we test and suspend baseball players for using illegal drugs, why not politicians? Does it matter in my daily life or yours whether Alex Rodriguez hit a home run with the help of Human Growth Hormone? Unless we bet on a New York Yankees game, it doesn’t. However, it does matter in my life whether state Senator Cornholio from the North Side of Chicago voted to increase my taxes.
That’s why I believe we should institute mandatory drug testing for state legislators. Every senator and representative would be required to produce a urine sample once during the regular session, and once during the veto session. The same with the governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer or comptroller. (The lieutenant governor will only be tested if the governor turns in a tainted sample, to make sure she’s clean enough to take over.) Politicians will be tested for illegal mind-alerting substances, such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin. They’ll also be tested for PEDs (Politics Enhancing Drugs) such as Human Growth Hormone, androstenedione and stanozolol, which would make them larger and more aggressive than their colleagues, and therefore more persuasive in debates and back-room negotiations. If Senator Cornhole returns from the winter break with an extra 35 pounds of muscle, your senator might be more inclined to vote for his school reform bill.
Guilty legislators will be punished with 50-day suspensions for the first offense, and lifetime political bans for the second. They won’t even be able to serve on the Norwood Park Township Street Lighting Commission. Also, their votes for that session will be stricken from the record books, possibly altering the outcome of close tallies. For voters who complain that this will cost them representation: sorry, you shouldn’t have elected a doper.
Maybe we should start drug testing candidates, too.