Thursday, March 17, 2016

Government's Smoking Governors

I was at a lovely woman’s birthday party recently and ended up in a conversation with her father.  He is a dyed in the wool staunch Republican.  As we drifted into the subject of the elections and politics, he expressed his strong beliefs that government needs to stay out of people’s way and only provide the most necessary of services.

Those who are very needy and dependent on a safety net, such as the physically or mentally disabled who are unable to provide for themselves.  Babies and toddlers in need of support who come from families who have no means or sense of how to provide an infrastructure in order to raise a child; some of those parents abusing drugs themselves even in the prenatal period while carrying their babies.  But when it goes beyond that, there comes with it an extraordinarily high amount of wasted spending on those who would rather not work and who end up taking the money and going to Laughlin for the weekend. And I doubt that our tax dollars are meant to be used that way.  

He he also talked about the right to fire arms and the usually assortment of politically conservative views, many of which I agree with. 

He then got onto the subject of government setting limits and restrictions on public smoking.  He felt that, again, government had no place in stopping people from smoking.  He said something to the effect that, “Americans are stupid people.  If they want to smoke and ruin their lives, then let them.  But don’t have government tell them or anyone if they can smoke or not.”

I had to disagree with his point about government's tampering with smoking rights.

I should make it apparent here that I am completely biased on this subject.  And my bias is not in favor of protecting people from themselves as one might conclude.  Because, I too believe that if someone is stupid enough to smoke, take drugs, or do other things that might risk their lives, it’s not my place to babysit their decisions.  If there is anything to be said about my opinion in terms of protecting people, it would be that I don’t want billions of dollars in public services and medical support going to people who chose to clog their respiratory and cardiac systems with poison.  Why do we tax payers end up paying for it?

But really, it’s much more selfish and personal to me.  I just HATE smoke.  I hate the smell of it, I hate the mentality of it, and I hate how people think it’s okay to make me have to breath that shit.  I refer you to my long ago written article titled, Psychiatric Smoking Wards, if you want more of my experience on the subject. 

The simplest and most poignant point, and one that I made to this man that evening, is that you can not chlorinate half of a pool, can you?  Well, in the same vein, you can’t smoke anywhere near me and not make me breathe it either.  And that’s where I think it’s okay for government and municipalities to step in and say, “You can’t smoke in this restaurant, in this theater, on this airplane, or near this doorway, because if you do, you’re making Fred breathe in the shit, and he literally hates smoke.” 

In my opinion, that’s government doing it’s job because they are stopping someone else from infringing on my rights to breathe the clean air that I am deserving of.  And hey, I live in Southern California; I get enough polluted air already on Interstate 5. 

The additional point I made to my friend’s father was that I agreed with him that an individual should be allowed to own a registered firearm.  But if that owner starts shooting bullets over his fence into my back yard, then that’s a no-go.  And it’s the same with smoking.  You can pick your nose, you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your friends’ noses!  There are necessary boundaries.  And one is, don't smoke anywhere near me where I'm going to have to breathe it in.  And I'm glad that the government has my back on this one.