I went out to the bar last light. I am a smoker. I drank a few cocktails. A smoked a few cigarettes. I killed some bad guys. It was loud. It was filled with young people. As a smoker, I noticed there were not many other of my ilk at the bar, but the other smokers that were there seemed to be quite young. I felt old, but not ancient. I enjoyed the evening. Mostly.
In my not so sober state, I realized that many of these young party animals are going to be deciding my fate as I approach the geriatric era. That could scare me. It does not. I am more concerned about the geriatric ego maniacs that are currently f-ing up the situation that is American Society.
I can sit back and bitch or I can do something. My grass roots effort starts with this blog. We have some choices to make! As my favorite college professor used to say, “Sober up people!” it may take a little hair of the dog, or a bunch of water, but either way it is time.
When Michigan moved the drinking age form 18 to 21 I was not affected immediately. I was too young to drink. (legally) I knew people that were able to affect a change, but thought there was no way that the age would go up, so they did nothing. And then they lost the right to imbibe (legally) for as much as three years. I could do nothing to change the law. I could not vote. I was left at the mercy of the people of voting age and they dropped the ball, kicked it to the corner, and forgot about it. Good or bad, the age went up.
The governor of Michigan just signed into law a ban of smoking in public places. It takes effect in May of 2010. It is hailed as a great measure. It is hailed as a giant step forward. As an American, wishing to keep my personal freedoms, it smacks of Gestapo tactics. For those of you who know me, I really appreciate anyone telling me what to do. It may be great, but who profits from this the most? Definitely not me. (Hint: Insurance Companies)
It is something. I am not sure what it is. In my brief research of this great new measure, I found that it rattled around in various forms for ten years. Did I mention my research was brief? I only read 2 articles. That was enough to learn there is still some ambiguity as to what will happen about open air decks at eateries et al. Imagine that. It is a law. It will be litigated. The smoking contingent is looking into what legal leg they have to stand on. It took TEN years to get it signed. Amazing.
I am not going to debate the issue of second hand smoke, first hand smoke and the smoke and mirrors that is state and federal politics. The truth is that the law passed and it is probably a good thing. Just like the seatbelt law. However, I do not want the government protecting me from myself. Our government rarely figures out the small things and they are surely unable to debate the larger issues. Like it or not, our system is flawed. Special interest and the lobbyists have a much greater stake in the political machine than you and I. Money is still the driving force of the decision makers. Still and all it is the best system I know.
I could rant and rave about the issues and have a bunch of people on both sides telling me how wrong I am. I could do my due diligence and actually come prepared to debate and chose a side. We all need to do the right thing for ourselves. Sometimes it is the right thing for now. Sometimes we will change our minds. Sometimes our beliefs change. It is all about perspective. It is about personal choice and freedom.It is about being able to make your own choice on how you want to live.
Smoking is a small issue in the big picture of abandoning our personal freedoms, in exchange for what is being sold to us as a better quality of life, determined by others that have your best interest in mind. I do not care what side of the issue you are on. I do care that you understand that there are bigger issues at stake than the freedom to smoke. Fear is the motivating factor behind a plethora of agendas. Paying on our fears is a motivating tool. I am not afraid of inhaling toxins. There are many other toxins in the air that are bad for you. The burning of fossil fuels is contributing to many ecological issues. When will you give up the freedom to drive?
The point is I could do a lot more than I do. We all could. I could set up another blog that just sets out points of contention and waits for the fireworks. I know where I stand on government interference in my daily life. They intrude far more than I would like. I could run for office. I could join a political or grass roots movement. I will probably do nothing. My freedoms will be gone before I know it. When I am 85, wondering why I cannot enjoy my personal freedom, and where all my choices went, I will regret the day I did nothing.
Or I could smoke some cigarettes and kill some bad guys.
Just another day in paradise
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