Sunday, July 1, 2012

You Can't Do That! It's Illegal

By - Bill Holmes

It seems like every time I turn on the news, read the paper (yes, I still read the paper) or check the Internet somebody is telling me what I shouldn't or can't do.  More alarming is that they want to make that activity illegal.  The official mantra 45 years ago was "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" from Network.  I think we need to revive that movement.

What I'm referring to is the constant barrage of politicians, clergy, experts, advocacy groups and just plain busy bodies who want to impose their beliefs and behavior on my life.  Not by persuasion or example but by law, maybe even a constitutional amendment.

I'm partial to the first amendment - Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

There are a few other amendments I like too.  In fact all 27 are fine except for the 18th.  Isn't that the one that told us what we can't do as opposed to the others that dealt with government or what we, as citizens, had a right to and could do.   How did that 18th amendment thing work out?

I am neither a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian nor Tea Bagger.  I am also not a Socialist, Communist or Fascist.  At one time or another I did identify with a political party, not always the same one, but no longer.  They once had ideals and ideas how to govern.  If they got 51% of their way it was a win.  Now it's 100% or nothing.  They have all become so entrenched with their  BS “talking point” platforms that I doubt they even listen to what they are saying.

Back to the point of this blog/rant.  We can no longer agree to disagree among ourselves.  We now must impose our views onto the rest of society by whatever means we can.  This is not a Democratic or Republican monopoly.  Both parties are equally guilty, they just have different hot buttons.

In no particular order, a political party or government body has proposed that we outlaw, heavily tax and/or restrict the following:

  •  Cigarettes/Smoking
  • Birth Control
  • Large Soft Drinks
  • Evolution
  • Pornography
  • Happy Meal
  • Trans Fats
  • Guns
  • The Internet
  • Sex in parked cars
  • Same Sex Marriage
  • Religion, but only if it's not ours
  • Bicycle lanes

NYC has also allowed (encouraged) cops to frisk anyone they want.  Kinda like the TSA.

The latest war on large soft drinks is absurd.  Sure sugar is a problem in our overweight population but are the no calorie sweeteners any better?  Are they safe?  By the way, under NYC's proposed ban you can buy a very large diet drink to wash down your Twinkie and Hostess Cupcake. 

Be very careful what you, as the majority, wish for and push through the legislature. 

Say you're a Southern Baptist living in a small town that demands all businesses close on the Sabbath (Sunday).  Then your town majority becomes Jewish and now the Sabbath is mostly Saturday.  Then Tuesday's Children or Druids take control.  You get the picture.  So instead of mandating when businesses do business let each open or close when they want. 

If a man and woman want to use birth control it's not the government's concern.  I really don't care if Medicaid or government dictated insurance provides contraceptives although I think it's a good idea.  Just say yes or no, but don't make it a moral issue.  Also, don't pay for stiffy pills but deny contraceptives.  Many private insurance programs don't cover eye glasses, dental, birth control, hearing aids or elective procedures.  We don't make political planks out of it.  We either live with it or find an insurance program that covers what we need.  

Neither major party has a monopoly on the repression.  The Democrats want to regulate what we drive, eat, drink or where we smoke.  The Republicans want to prohibit how we eat, what we smoke or who we marry.  The Libertarians and Tea Party have their pet peeves they want to outlaw too.

I'm not advocating eliminating all government regulations.  We need laws to protect citizens from each other and corporations who don't play fair.  Regulations to require Wall Street transparency or cars to get certain MPG are fine.  Just don't dictate that I must use E. F. Hutton or buy a Ford.  We need zoning laws so the nuclear recycling plant doesn't move next door to the elementary school.  Of course there are many other areas government has a place.  

Mostly what we don't need is a government that tries to protect adults from ourselves.  Maybe tax (not excessively) bad behavior or restrict (within reason) where or when it can be done but don't outlaw it.  The operative words are “not excessively” and “within reason”.  Complete elimination, zero tolerance or mandatory are the problem.  You've all heard a story or two about the honor roll, star athlete student who drove his Mom's car to school and there was a cake knife in the trunk, left there after the baby shower Mom attended yesterday.  The student was suspended from school, kicked off the team and lost a scholarship because the school had a zero tolerance policy about knives on campus.  No common sense or judgment involved.   These boneheaded rules and decisions are made by highly paid and highly educated school officials.  High pay and education should mean they can make an intelligent decision based on facts and circumstances. 

Bottom line, many of these bans, restrictions and laws sound good on first blush.  No thinking person will deny that tobacco, sugar, trans fats and bacon flavored sundaes are not particularly healthy.  In excess they kill and incapacitate.  Guns also kill and incapacitate.  Sex in a parked car may not be prudent or very comfortable.  Democratic Nanny Government proponents want to ban most of those.  Abortions, contraceptives, same sex marriage, separation of church and state.  Republican Tea Party proponents want to ban those and don't even think about taking my gun. 

I don't want to ban any of them.  I just want a little tolerance and common sense injected into our political discourse.  I want back the days Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill were political opponents but friends.  When 51% meant a win.  When it was possible to have a moderate Republican or conservative Democrat.  If that's not possible, how about just a little civility.

Champion and live by your beliefs, just don't force them on me.

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