MAURER: The Indiana we've always wanted

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Mickey Maurer CommentaryMy fellow Tea Party Republicans, I have an idea. Let’s enact legislation requiring immigrants and homosexuals to wear purple hats. If we are going to treat them differently, we have to know who they are—on sight. Then we can confront someone wearing a purple hat and if he doesn’t speak English, boom, back to Mexico. Likewise homosexuals. We do not want them here, either.

There are no legal challenges to the current law banning same-sex marriages, but the law does not sufficiently set apart and condemn homosexuality. The proposed marriage rights amendment that passed the House and is before the Senate in committee goes a long way. It prohibits not only the union but the other incidences of marriage attached to any unmarried couple.

Under this legislation, homosexuals cannot receive violence protection against assault by their partner, cannot automatically make health care decisions for their partner in an emergency, cannot qualify for partner’s benefits for health insurance or life insurance, cannot share custody of their shared children, and cannot adopt. But the amendment does not go far enough. We need to compel gays to wear purple hats so we can identify them and encourage them to live in San Francisco or Key West, anywhere but our God-protected sacred land.

I confess—this idea is not original. Remember armbands? They have been used to identify the people who are not like us for hundreds of years — before even the Spanish Inquisition or the Aryan Society of Germany. This kind of designation and identification of the objects of righteous wrath has been seen many times before in many variations—and it works.

We cannot be derailed by the moderate Republicans and some Democrats who supported the election of a Republican majority in the Indiana Legislature with the encouragement of the governor in a good-faith effort to effect a sound fiscal policy. Pay no attention when those moderates claim that this well-intentioned effort has unleashed the serpent of prejudice and hatred that may send Indiana reeling economically, socially and morally.

The purple hat legislation will be no ordinary bill. It will go to the core, to the heart, of who we are as Hoosiers. Hoosiers are white, heterosexual, English-speaking, Christian men and women. The purple hat legislation will tell the world that we will not abide anybody that is not just like us. That seems fair. Anybody that does not meet our definition of Hoosier must be penalized and encouraged to leave. Live and let live—but not on the banks of the Wabash.

We have to carefully teach our children. They are not born with the same fine-tuned understanding that we have about what God wants. They are too pure and accepting of their fellow man. That is why you must continue your good work in suppressing attempts to enact school bullying legislation. Our children must be encouraged to harass their undesirable classmates, the kids wearing the little purple beanies.

We could take the time to overcome our ignorance and learn that those with the purple hats are more similar to us than we like to think. Though some have problems with our language or have a different sexual orientation, we may learn that they have ambitions, goals and ideals—that they are human beings who love our country and this state. But why bother? Better to treat them like toxic waste and ship them out.

Why stop with immigrants and homosexuals? With this good idea we can double back and pick up the gypsies and the Jews and the blacks and the Catholics. Well, not the blacks, they do not need a purple hat—after all, they are black.

What difference does it make if we precipitate an economic disaster? Who cares that we will lose opportunity for businesses that may have otherwise considered moving to Indiana and for conventioneers who will undoubtedly revel elsewhere? We may not be as economically viable, but at least Indiana will be ours.

Your legislative representatives are going to love this idea. Soon we will have the Indiana we have all been hoping and praying for.•


Maurer is a shareholder in IBJ Corp., which owns Indianapolis Business Journal.  His column appears every other week. To comment on this column, send e-mail to mmaurer@ibj.com.


  • Quit lumping us together!!
    As I read the comments here, the following groups were slammed: Christians, conservatives, and the Tea Party. I am a Christian, I am a conservative, and I actually agree with many of the REAL tenents of the Tea Party. There is NOTHING Christian or conservative about this issue. It does NOT apply to the Tea Party. It is DISCRIMINATION which is not a Christian practice, nor a conservative practice. Putting everyone in a category only accomplishes MORE discrimination.
  • Spread the Love
    Mr. Maurer's article was maybe written with sarcasm but he got his point across beautifully. Shame on me I am straight but I agree and appreciate his article. I have not heard one good reason for this deplorable legislation. My job asks of me to be sure our employees are treated fairly, with respect and equally - shouldn't our government be demonstrating the same. If the politicians truly want to represent the majority then this is a great opportunity to show them the majority wants everyone to be treated equally - join the Purple Hat Project in Indianapolis and spread the love as that is what everyone needs - go on facebook to The Purple Hat Project and keep June 3, 2011 open - what a positive way to make a difference - Love to you and Mr. Maurer!
  • God Save us from Self Righteous Conservatives
    Our republic was founded on equality.
    "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,that amoung these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happieness."
    God save our republic from people who want to take these unalienable Rights away.
  • discouraged
    I graduated in December of 2008 from IUPUI. I finally found employment with the City of Indianapolis, after looking all over the nation for a position that utilized my MEASLY bachelor's degree (I naively thought it would be enough). I love to think that there are enough young, educated, open-minded people like myself to move Indiana forward...but when? I believe in the democratic process, as I have worked nearly every election since I turned 18 but....the recent legislation that has been passed really makes me depressed about Indiana's future. My family lives here, I know Indianapolis, and frankly, I don't make enough money to relocate before obtaining a job outside of Indiana. I miss my rose-tinted glasses that enabled me to acknowledge most of reality, but still retain some hope. I don't have much hope left anymore for those of us who just want to have a decent life (where we grew up) and enjoy diversity, culture, and the company of like-minded educated individuals from all walks of life.
  • Perfectly Said
    Thank you, Mr. Maurer, for so accurately capturing the absurdity of the new legislative agenda in Indiana. Brilliant satire.

    It's infuriating, disgusting, and hurtful to me that the place my partner and I chose to make a home wants to make us outcasts.

    Both my partner and I grew up in Indiana, have post-graduate degrees from Indiana University (one of us from the school that bears your name), and we chose to settle in Indianapolis together for its stable economy, high quality of life, and semi-progressive culture. We both do very well here, own a home, and contribute generously to the tax base and Indiana economy. We never intended to leave... until this year.

    We refuse to live in and pay taxes to a state that intends to legislatively strip us of our basic human rights. So while we would love to remain close to our families and while we enjoy relatively easy prosperity and currently have a high quality of life here, we're willing to walk away from all of that to live in a place that embraces us and treats us with the fairness to which every tax payer is entitled. Sadly for Indiana, I think many couples in our situation will do the same thing.

    What a destructive force hate is. Its consequences are far-reaching. It betrays humanity. And more practically, it destroys economic prosperity by discouraging people--gay and straight--to think of Indiana as a great place to live, work, and do business. Everyone loses.
  • Will the REAL Tea Party please stand up?
    Let me just observe that the Tea Party alluded to by Mr. Maurer IS NOT the REAL Tea Party. THE TEA PARTY IS NOT ABOUT HATE; the real Tea Party is about restoring us to a constitutional republic. THE REAL TEA PARTY deplores the over-reaching, hate-filled demogoguery which the hijackers have injected into the Tea Party message, sending out invectives of division, instead of unifying inspirations. GOD SAVE THE REPUBLIC.
  • Thanks
    Thanks Mr. Maurer. Good point and good column.
  • Inanities
    I'll proudly wear hat as it would match perfectly with my political philosophy - I'm neither red nor blue; I'm purple!

    All of you moderate Republicans out there - it's time to rise up against the Christian right and tea partiers!! It was my Party and I'll cry if I want to....
    I am not gay, but I will wear the hat! I will stand with you!
  • Where did you go?
    I'm scared!
  • Indy Loses
    I am disappointed that more representatives from Indianapolis did not speak out against this discriminatory amendment. Legislative priorities like this can undo years of hard work by the many people that have been trying to brand Indianapolis as an open and welcoming place. If state legislators want to pursue a agenda to appease religious extremists, Indianapolis has to differentiate itself and Indy leaders need to boldly express their opposition to political endeavors.
  • If you don't appreciate sarcasm
    Under paragraph 175 of the Indiana penal code, you must wear a purple hat.
  • Thank you
    Yes, thank you!!!
  • Thank you
    thank you
  • Thank you
    A fine commentary from an homorable man.
  • When will the gay republicans start voting democrat
    The democratic party has carried water for the civil rights of all citizens for years, yet republicans with an interest in human rights continue to vote for the hidden authoritarians in the republican party.
    Will you ever learn? The ignorant religious right owns your party now. Im sure any purple hat will have to be purchased from an exlusive state subcontractor
  • so you are gay
    i grew up in a southern indian town in the 50's... gay couples were alive and doing well. two women lived together for 50 plus years ; went to the bapist church ; presidents of the bpw. officers in the local bank; the other manager of a local utility.they did not have too wear a hat.
    a local doctor and nurse lived on the same property over the years. never married always together...did not harm the doctor practice.
    this was 60 years ago in a southern indiana town of 4500. so you are gay! big deal
  • Well done
    Well done, Mr. Maurer. I hope you'll consider delivering a personal copy to the leaders of the so-called Indiana Family Institute. Today's column by Kurt Smith in the Forefront section of the IBJ was inhumane, wholly inaccurate and simply disgusting. Perhaps instead of purple hats, we Hoosier Homos should again be branded with the upside down triangles that the Nazis used in their concentration camps. After all, he did call us counterfeit, right?
  • the devil wears purple
    Yes. Purple hats. Excellent. And if they have cigarettes, we should confiscate them and redistribute to purebred hoosiers to smoke in our restaurants, bars and public places.
  • Kate Needs a Purple Hat
    People who don't appreciate satire should have to wear purple hats too. We don't like your kind.
  • MakeItHappen
    But it's funny, ironic, and calls attention to the article if we do.

    By CHOICE, it's funny. By legislation it's horrific.

    Chaplin woulda' done it... I'm just sayin'...
  • A Choice They Say
    Sexuality is a choice. Don't you remember the day you looked around and decided you preferred one gender over the other?


  • Wha...?
    Is this an Onion article?
  • No ...
    Just read by one apparently!
  • Wow
    Glad our Hoosier neighbors are working on job creation, housing and repairing infrastructure. Great priorities....
  • Thank you!!!
    Thank you for laying out the options so clearly. While I can brag to my Illinois friends about Indiana's fiscal shape, it's an embarrassment that we are looking to legislate discrimination. Wake up, Indiana lawmakers. My parents went to another state to get married in 1961 (mixed race), but at least their marriage was recognized in their home state. How is this any different? To those who think "gay" is a choice, I ask but one question, "What if you're wrong?"
  • Hoosiers
    How about just stopping people and making them explain the term "Hoosier"? That would weed out lots, I bet.
  • the highest art
    Ahh, Satire! Truly the litmus to our Melting Pot's solution.
  • Really?
    Was this written by a child? This is a sad excuse for journalism.
    • Well said
      A friend forwarded this to me. I'm from Texas where we have our own little purple-hat hating contingent. Bravo to you sir, well said.
    • Well said
      A friend forwarded this to me. I'm from Texas where we have our own little purple-hat hating contingent. Bravo to you sir, well said.
    • Well, that's comforting.
      It's nice to know that the inability to detect irony and sarcasm is not limited to my home state of Texas.
    • Bravo!
      Life long resident, married and had about enough of this backward state. I think I'll write the governor and tell him just that.
    • Solidarinosc!
      I'm going to get one "just because." Call me contrarian, but I'd never join a club that would have me as a member. And I'm not alone in saying that!
    • Got my Purple Hat!
    • Mitch can't say it.
      He's elected and would promptly get unelected by the radical right were he to stand up and tell the religious zealots that their distorted view of reality is warped.
    • Sarcasm, anyone?
      This article was clearly intended to be sarcastic.

      Bravo, Mr. Maurer. I'm proud my alma mater bears your name.
    • Missed Sarcasm
      Umm... I think you missed the fact that this article was dripping with sarcasm. He is not actually advocating that gays wear purple hats.
      • I think you're a bigot
        Why enforce any immigration laws? There are many, many poor people from unstable countries. Why should those from Central America get special treatment? Let them all in and then no one counld demand that people obey the law.
        Not so long ago we were moaning about sending AMERICAN jobs overseas. I have a better idea - lets just bring the Chinese to the US. They would still be taking American jobs, but then they would be immigrants and our friends. Why enforce immigration at all? Let everyone come in.
      • Holy Moses!
        Indiana will remain in the dark ages if residents continue to listen/read dribble from those like Mr. Maurer. Purple hat? Maybe he'd like to see scarlet letters too? Oops, maybe not since some of his tea pals have partaken of that part of life's delicacies.
        • Godwin's Law
          Does anyone else think it's funny that the namesake of Indiana's allegedly best law school is a stark example of Godwin's Law?
        • First they came for...
          First they came for the purple hat wearers, and I didn't speak out because I didn't look good in purple hats.
        • I'll second that!
          I would be happy to throw a few bucks to Mr. Mauer's election campaign.
        • Agreed
          Yes, I live here and have been here my whole adult life. I've heard the whole time I've lived here that Indiana (at least Indianapolis) is "a great place to raise children." As I'm raising my own children, I'm beliving the propaganda less and less. Sadly, at this point, I feel pretty stuck here, which is kind of sad, and I don't know if I have the energy to fight the system from the inside. It is a machine and there are so many people who blindly shuffle through and buy the conservative claptrap and then they breed and produce the next generation of conservative robots.
        • Too Late for This Hoosier
          Thanks, Mickey, It's a great piece, but I'm tired of seeing the same jackasses voted into office year after year sending Indiana down the tubes for their own (and their Party's)personal gain at the expense of the rest of us. This native born Hoosier and entreprenuer is headed out in June to less offensive pastures. Fiscally conservative, gay, and once fiercely proud of my home state... I've had enough.
        • Tyrany of the majority
          Finally, after a winter of legislative insanity, reason for hope. It is time for those who had thought that Indy was a great place to live and work to stand up and demand to be heard above the pious ignorance of our current legislature. Please publish your piece.
        • Balderdash
          [In my best churchlady voice...] someone owns Lids stock. Don't they ;-)

          Thank you for your courage and common sense.

          I wish Mitch had spoken these words.
          • Correction
            Unleashed only 1/2 - the other 1/2 are still PT residents of IL.
          • Purple Hats!
            I really want a purple hat now.
          • Thank you.
            Thank you Mr. Maurer for your thought provoking article. Very well said.
          • Never Coming Back Home Again
            Due to the backward nature of legislative actions against homosexuals - I can proudly say I will NEVER return to my former home state of Indiana. I transplanted 14 years ago and will NEVER return. I find the unwelcoming and abhorrent climate of the Hoosier state reprehensible and furthermore find the idle nature of the moderate Republicans and my family who remain to be completely unacceptable. I have stood up in weddings for so many of my friends and family "back home in Indiana" and for them to stand idly by as specific targeted legislation against me and my "family" is sickening. Good luck to Indiana and its "moral" values.
          • No, we need more!
            We need purple hats for those underperforming teachers and students, so we know who's going to the charter schools. And we need them for those union members that won't buckle under and get their pay cut! And we need them for all of those people that get public money, too! Think of those people on Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, FSSA money, and so on! They've had their lips on the public straw too long. They shouldn't get married either! I think everyone that is an immigrant going back ten generations needs to wear the hat, too! Oh, wait.
          • As for Education...
            "We have to carefully teach our children..."

            Thank goodness that our State government is also dictating the K12 educational process now. This will ensure that rouge, freedom loving educators are easily fired so as to never teach children about all types of political and social issues and viewpoints.

            Let's hear it for political job security for the GOP and their plan for BIG government!
          • Leaving for FLA
            I'm taking a job in Florida at the end of April. I see this state going backwards. Still can't buy a bottle of wine for Sunday dinner. And no, I don't want to remember to buy it on Saturday when the groceries have plenty on the shelves. Still can't buy a car, rv, or motorcycle on Sunday. Still have a sales tax equal the the same rate before the worst recession in years. Still come out of downtown restuarants coughing smoke. Now, you have this bunch in the statehouse trying to pass more socially and economically repressive laws.
          • economic argument
            seems wasteful to purchase all the purple hats - just cut off their heads?
          • brain drain
            I know of two people who recently moved to Portland, OR. Two more who are interviewing in Florida, Four more who are actively job seeking in Chicago and have even put their houses on the market because they are all sick of Indiana and the direction we're headed.

            ALL of these folks have college degrees, Three of them are artists and all were involved with various charity work, political fundraising, arts communities etc. (which is how I came to know them all) and if they feel that way living in Indy, can you imagine what its like to live in the rest of the state?

            The sad part is that there are a lot of Hoosiers who will read this and say "don't let the door hit you on the way out" and would love to see all of us "gay folk" move out. Be careful what you wish for.
          • Here is a poem that came out right after WWII
            First they came for the communists, and I did not speak outâ??because I was not a communist;

            Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak outâ??because I was not a socialist;

            Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak outâ??because I was not a trade unionist;

            Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak outâ??because I was not a Jew;

            Then they came for meâ??and there was no one left to speak out for me.

          • Take these comments to the print version
            Mickey - as a faithful reader and subscriber for almost as many years as there has been an IBJ - this is perhaps the best you have authored. Reminds me of Dr. Seuss's "Star Belly Sneeches", which I used in EEO training. I respectfully ask you to consider publishing these and the many other on-line comments regarding these issues the past few weeks in your print version. Many readers only see the print copy - and might be amazed at how the majority of business citizens feel about these issues. For a legislature that promised JOBS, JOBS, JOBS - we obviously misunderstand that they meant to eliminated them from Indiana - rather than bring jobs to our state.
          • Already left
            A lot of people have already left. Because of the conservative agenda that the state of Indiana carries,some of the most inspiring, talented, bright hoosiers have left. How can you have a place where people want to live and grow and prosper if you have nothing to offer but conservative,judgemental and backwards thinking? Most people outside of the midwest see Indiana as a place they would never want to go to, let alone live. I grew up there, and though I have some sentimental memories, I wont return to live. I have accomplished more living outside of that state. To stay there and try to change the place is like beating a dead horse.
            • brilliant
              I am so proud that you called a spade a spade! I have straight children and a gay child and they all deserve to be treated the same in the eyes of the law and society. Mickey - you rock!
            • On Point
              Thanks Mickey, this article was terrific and so on point. We have unleashed a group of legislators on Hoosiers that are Hell bent on returning us to the 40's and all the discrimination that was a part of that day. They are obnoxiously self righteous.
              • Ship 'em OUT!
                Amen, my brother, testify!
                I vote we send them back Homosexico!
              • The best
                This could be the best commentary ever written in the IBJ. I'm subscribing today. Bravo! This should be required reading in every school. Let's get our elected back to business! Mickey for Governor! You got my vote and probably many more.
              • So right
                Oh granny. You are so correct. How about a yellow hat for every Republican? Then we can identify those who feel it's alright to do what they preach not to do, but can justify it because they are doing it.
              • One More Group
                Don't we also need an identifying marker for female persons who are suspected of engaging in sexual activity without the express permission of the Republican leadership?
                • Thank You Mickey!
                  Mickey- Thank you for taking the position you did and for speaking up for us. The principle you spoke of seems so very easy to understand that it's hard to see how these supposedly moral Christian Republicans could legislate nothing less than total discrimination.
                • It could be worse...
                  ...you could be stuck in Alabama.
                • Mickey for Governor...pick your year!
                  Okay, you had me for about two seconds! Great article and I hope some of the people who act ungodly in the name of God learn this is not a church. We in America believe in freedom, respect and choice...for ALL. Thanks, Mickey!
                • Yep! That's why we left...
                  Unfortunately, many of us have already run out of time waiting for Indiana to join the 20th century, let alone the 21st century... So, we (like Terry) have had to leave the state in order to pursue our happiness, to provide for our families, and to be able to take care of our spouses "in sickness and in health." Sure, we miss our families and the reasonable cost of living, but it's the price that must be paid. Oh, and an interesting side note... Massachusetts has had same-sex marriage for nearly seven years, and Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rate in the nation. And the highest? In the Bible-belt... Just sayin'... Keep preachin' it, Mickey!
                • Great idea
                  Great idea! Why hadnâ??t someone thought of that earlier! That Mickey Maurer is a real genius.

                  Hey! The Sikhs wear turbans, the Jews wear yarmulkes, Christians wear crucifixes, soldiers wear uniforms, everyone wears something that identifies them in some way. So the purple hat idea for immigrants is a good idea, but for the gays, I think having them wear makeup and Donna Karen fashion items would more easily incite their enthusiasm for the idea.
                • Former Hoosier and Glad for it.
                  To the author of this piece a note of warning. The REAL Tea Party folks are too stupid to recognize parody when they read it. Especially if it's not on Fox News or being spouted by Rush.

                  I left the state many years ago and now don't even acknowledge I'm from Indiana. The residents haven't changed their attitudes one bit since 1964. It's worse than the old "barefoot and pregnant" adage. A darned shame is what it is.
                • oh darn
                  I was going to take my pink triangle/yellow star armband out of storage. I don't do hats too well.

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                1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

                2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

                3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

                4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

                5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.