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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Liberals Taking Away More Liberties!

You know, I always thought that the word "liberal" was supposed to be about liberty - about making sure we citizens had the liberties and rights to live our lives as we saw fit without having the government come in and trample those rights.

Turns out I was wrong. Because everyone else seems to be wrong. These people we call "Liberals" - the Democrats who blue up the blue states with their anti-Republican stances - aren't the ones who are protecting our liberties. They're the ones taking them away. And Gov. Blagojevich just pulled down his pants and made a bowel movement all over another liberty on Monday.

The liberty to smoke.

Thanks to the new law signed by the governor, on Jan 1st, 2008, smoking will be restricted to private homes and outside (more than 15 feet from a public building entrance). No more smoking in taverns or restaurants with bar areas. Can't smoke in a dormitory, either. Can't smoke in a PRIVATE home if there's a business open to the public operating out of the same space.

Face it - your liberties have just been written off.

You know what? I'm not even a smoker. I loathe the smell of cigarette smoke, it doesn't take much for me to start coughing, and I'm sure several branches of my family tree have been affected by smokers and the cancers they PROBABLY got from all of their smoking. (Yea, that's right - I'm still not totally convinced. I mean I'm convinced that smoking can cause cancer - but at the rate of other things scientists keep coming up with that ALSO cause cancer, I'm not as sure you can pin any of it directly on the smoking itself.) Even so, I am fully aware that they have every right to smoke and do whatever they want to themselves for themselves. You know what I have the right to do?

Go stand somewhere else.

Which is why I can understand why some places SHOULD be non-smoking, or rather that they should have designated non-smoking areas and designated smoking areas. Workplaces, because there you don't have the right to go somewhere else. Eateries, so you can have the CHOICE to be in one or the other section. Gas stations, so you don't make things explode.

Other than that (and probably some other places, but I'm not here to make a list of hypothetical exceptions to my own rule), smoke wherever and whenever! And if I've got a problem with that, I can stand somewhere else! This goes right along with the idiots who don't realize the have the option to change the channel or station when something they don't like is on the TV or radio. Stop taking away our freedom of speech and expression and go practice your freedom of choice and choose something else! These are our liberties, people! Stop letting those false advocates of liberty take them away!

The article I'm reading has a quote from a 70-year-old named Wally who says, "It's the General Assembly being our new nanny. After this they'll ban foods that are too fatty. You'll have to ask the state what you can eat and drink - they'll start regulating hamburgers." Oh, Wally... I guess you don't know/remember that they've already started with the trans fats... Your burgers ARE being regulated, Wally.

For those of you who want to argue "secondhand smoke", I'm going to refer you back to "go somewhere else" and leave it at that. These people are the ones arguing that since it affects them and endangers their health that they should be able to make it illegal. So here's one (or two) of my famously-crazy analogies:

I'm standing on the street with one leg placed out at an angle. I'm not trying to trip anyone at all - I'm just placing my leg out because I feel like it and I have every right to stand how I choose to. It's not MY fault if you don't have the wherewithall to, um, LOOK AROUND and notice it and trip over my leg that's been in the same position for the past three minutes. Lots of people didn't trip, because they walked somewhere else and paid attention and were vigilant about where their feet were walking. Just because you got hurt somehow doesn't mean what I did was illegal. I didn't do in in a malicious manner and I wasn't attacking someone. You just tripped. I am not at fault.

Let's try something even closer. I'm standing on the street with my dog, on a leash. Everything's legal with that. Dog's not even pooping on the sidewalk. And then you come along, with your horrible allergy to dogs, and maybe you didn't notice the dog or you didn't think you'd wind up that close to the dog, but you breathe in some dog hair from my dog and start having an allergic reaction. You're going to potentially die, even though the risk is low because it was just errant dog hair or something and worst case scenario we call 9-1-1 and they pump you full of epinephrine or something. Even so, I didn't do anything wrong - YOU did by not paying attention to your OWN problems. I'm allowed to have a dog and follow the laws. You shouldn't be allowed to blame me for your allergic reaction. See a dog - get the hell away from it.

You don't get to declare it illegal to have a dog out in public because people on the street might have an allergic reaction.

I don't have any advice as to how to fix this. My initial thought was a call to every smoker to follow every disgusted-look-giving non-smoker they encounter, blowing as much smoke at them as possible. Maybe if you could smoke inside, you wouldn't be out here, blowing smoke at people. Of course, that gives them argument to be extreme jackasses and try to ban smoking entirely.

My second thought was a smoking protest - lining up about fifty smokers in a ring 15 feet away from the entrance to an important building (like the Sears Tower where I work) and just smoking. As everyone outside tries to get in, say you can't move, because you can't get within 15 feet of the door. At first I threw out this idea because preventing entrance to a public building is probably an arrestable offense, but then I remembered - the place has two entrances! (Three, if you count the Skydeck, where the tourists are supposed to go to get up to the top but always wander into the office entrances instead.)

I just don't know what else to offer other than my condolences. I mean, I'm not a smoker, so this really doesn't affect me much more than my smoking friends getting a little grumpier over having nowhere nice to smoke. Let's face it, in the summer and the winter, the extreme temperatures are NOT helpful to smokers. This law is even LESS helpful.

And don't even get me started on "but maybe this will encourage them to quit." That's not for the government to decide. That's not for you to decide with a vote, either. That's for them and ONLY them to decide. They have that liberty to choose what to start and when to quit.

At least they used to. Until the "liberals" decided otherwise.

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