Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover, waaaay back in January 2016:
2016 will mark Indiana’s statehood bicentennial, and we discussed the idea of trying to find more Indiana activities as our own little way of celebrating where we’ve lived all our lives. Friends of ours can already guess which two geek conventions are most likely to make that list in the months ahead without even trying, but we’re curious to see what else is going on this year ’round these parts…
On October 15th, downtown Indianapolis hosted a very special convention of sorts to mark the occasion. The “Hoosier Homecoming” was a celebration held at the Indiana State House in honor of Indiana’s 200th birthday, with a host of well-known local faces in attendance, an opportunity for self-guided tours of the State House, and the closing ceremonies to the Indiana Torch Relay, a 37-day event in which a specially lit torch — not unlike the Olympics’ own, but inspired by the torch on our state flag — traveled through all 92 Indiana counties by various transportation methods until its final stop in Marion County at the Homecoming.
We were grateful for the turnout. We were appreciative of the chance to see where our local government conducts its business and works at improving our lives. And we were surprised by the politicians who cared enough to join the festivities.
We expected the State House tours to be fifteen minutes of us walking around the rotunda, glancing at rows of locked doors, and exiting unaffected. Shockingly, the State House was set up to allow access to several important rooms. A few had obviously been straightened and festooned with temporary displays for us looky-loos, while others held just enough day-to-day office decor to add a touch of authenticity to our walkabout.
The Indiana Senate Chambers were largely deserted except a lone volunteer to rerun an intro video and answer questions for the curious.
The Indiana House Chambers refused to settle for mere museum solitude and hosted live demos teaching citizens what it’s like for Indiana Congresspeople to take turns extolling the virtues of, or condemning the excesses of, each of the various bills that reach their desks over the course of a session. During the role-play that we walked into late, a fake bill was under consideration to increase the state speed limit. Audience members who were interested in participating were handed a script to read at the podium in front of the rest of us as well as special guest Brian Bosma, the actual Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives multiple times since 2004.
In this exclusive Midlife Crisis Crossover amateur video, we see my wife joining the group performance as Anne Golden, Action Congresswoman, strongly in favor of raising our speed limits so that her dear husband can keep his reflexes sharp and his temper chill:
A few other civilians read before and after her, including one gentleman who admittedly went “off-script”, but he sounded pretty much in line with the disagreeably genteel side of Indiana politics that’s closer to the everyday reality when it’s not election season.
After the vote and the demo came to a close, the esteemed Mr. Bosma was happy to pose with fans.
The Indiana Supreme Court Chambers had only a pair of volunteers on hand to explain their setting and practices, none of our current Justices.
Not to be outdone, the Indiana Office of the Auditor brought in their own colorful displays, multiple cheery volunteers, and actual Indiana State Auditor Suzanne Crouch, previously a Congresswoman, who’s held the elected position since 2014. She’s also our Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor in the upcoming election.
Later in the afternoon, a program was held to salute the Indiana Bicentennial program itself, the volunteers and dealmakers who made it a reality, and the citizens who supported its ongoing efforts and appearances in the news and throughout social media. I thought it would be merely a parade of bureaucrats and strangers thanking other strangers. Mostly it was, until a well-known surprise speaker came in for several minutes to celebrate all things Indiana with us.
The grand finale to our day was the long-awaited Indiana Torch Relay arrival. We’ll have more about that in a separate entry, but here’s a few preview photos from that ceremony.
To be continued! Other chapters in this six-part MCC miniseries:
Part 2: The Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay Finale
Part 3: Bicentennial Cosplay!
Part 4: Notes from the Office of the Governor of Indiana
Part 5: The Art of the Indiana State House
Part 6: The Indiana Bicentennial Bonus Bric-a-Brac Bonanza