Column by J1 Reporter Emily Diesing
The Nebraska Legislature recently passed a bill for a new license plate, which had made it through six filibusters. This new license plate features a background photo of a mom and her child walking in the Nebraska sunset with the words “CHOOSE LIFE” boldly written below the license numbers. This license plate is pretty ironic since Nebraska has voted yes on the death penalty.
These controversial license plates represent a political statement and places the state of Nebraska in the position of directly taking sides on the matter. While 29 other states have approved this plate, the phrase “choose life” is subtly indicating that the entire state of Nebraska has the same pro-life opinion, which is false.
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has commented on his decision, “We are very proud of this plate. It is indicative of how we treat people in Nebraska.” This irony frustrates me because Nebraska voted for the death penalty on Nov. 8, 2016.
Many people who are pro-life argue that abortion is murder. The death penalty requires that the government murder the criminal, in order to teach someone that murder is wrong.
If states begin to put political statements on license plates it frightens me to think about what they will begin putting on plates next. There is a possibility that from Nebraska starting these statements on the license plates, more politics, such as a state’s view on the presidency, could eventually make it onto the things that represent Nebraska.
This is dangerous because there’s also the possibility of road rage and making Nebraska drivers a target. This new license plate will be available on Jan. 1, 2018 for an extra $5 as an alternative to the normal Nebraska plates.
If Nebraska is going to endorse one side of the argument, they need to endorse the other side as well for those who disagree. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, as of mid November, announced that they will be pursuing a “My Body, My Choice” license plate which already has 220 of the 250 pre-orders needed to submit an application. This plate is an additional $70 because it is an organizational license plate, compared to the $5 for the “Choose Life” plate.
Although this license plate does represent a very political and controversial issue, Nebraskans have a choice of whether they want to purchase the plate. Having a one-sided political message advertised on license plates all around the state should not be allowed, and I am surprised that legislature thought differently on this particular issue. Politics should stay out of the things that are meant represent an entire state.