Michael Leppert: Indiana AG Rokita could use a friend to back him up
Stephen King’s 1982 novel, “The Body,” was adapted into the award-winning 1986 film, “Stand by Me.” There are significant differences between the two versions of the story, but both are mostly about friendship. This is the story of Gordie LaChance, his friend Chris Chambers and two other 12-year-old friends, who go on a journey to find the body of a missing boy near Castle Rock, Oregon, on Christmas weekend. Labor Day, 1959. .
Think about times in your life when a friend helped you choose to do the right thing when your instinct was to do something else. Those friends might have been a sibling, a coach, or a teacher, or maybe just another 12-year-old growing up with you. Perhaps you have experienced them all. If you live well, there will be more.
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita could use a good friend. He seems to be on a series of bad decisions where a trusted and caring advisor could have made the difference. I asked around a bit, and I don’t know if he has such a person in his life right now. If he does, that person needs to step it up a bit.
First and foremost, the desire to serve as an attorney general must be rooted in the desire to serve the people of Indiana. Public service is tough enough when a person has the best intentions. But when the servant’s intentions seem to be built on a foundation of wickedness, grievance, and self-glorification, bad things happen. Rokita, as Attorney General, personifies these reprehensible traits and apparently doesn’t have that good friend he and Indiana need.
Last week, it issued an advisory opinion that Indiana and its investment managers may not make investments in the government employee retirement system based on environmental, social or governance, or ESG criteria. . Rokita says state law only allows for consideration of the financial interests of state employees and retirees. The opinion he issued, and more importantly, the press event announcing the opinion are primarily fabricated to allow Rokita to attack “woke big business” who “are working with their leftist allies to overthrow the will of the people”.
The opinion is difficult to take seriously, mainly because of its premise that using ESG criteria for investment decisions also means that investments are neither profitable nor sustainable. The Attorney General should be able to give an example of an investment that the Public Employees Retirement Fund has made that scores high on ESG criteria but is neither profitable nor sustainable. However, he declined to give the Indiana Capital Chronicle’s Leslie Bonilla Muniz an example of a case last week when he posted the notice.
If there is, Rokita should have led with it. If there isn’t one, a good friend of Rokita’s should have told her to find one before making her pseudo-heroic announcement. News flash, the market is reacting to the financial reality of climate change, not clinging to the unsustainable political ideology of the GOP. A friend reportedly told Rokita that the financial markets never need or want his advice.
A friend also might have given Rokita “stop and think” advice before attacking an Indiana doctor earlier this summer on Fox News without doing her homework. When news broke that a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio was due to travel to Indiana for an abortion in July, Rokita jumped at the chance to take issue with it on national television. He threatened to investigate and that he would “fight this all the way, including reviewing (the doctor’s) licensure”. He has since been sued by the doctor.
I expect this “investigation” will only result in Rokita settling a lawsuit with the doctor he wrongfully defamed.
At the end of “Stand by Me”, Gordie and Chris agree that the right thing to do is to anonymously report the whereabouts of the missing boy’s body without trying to clinch the reward money offered. They lost the fanfare, the celebration for completing the journey, and all other ego-related accolades. These are the things that 12 year olds were originally looking for. Their friendship brought them up to date.
The longer we watch Rokita search for the body, the more obvious he really needs a friend.
Michael Leppert is an author, educator, and communications consultant in Indianapolis. He writes about government, politics and culture at MichaelLeppert.com. This commentary originally appeared on indianacapitalchronicle.com. Send feedback to [email protected]