Thursday, October 26, 2006

Oh Dad, now you've gone and done it...

For those of you who don't read comments, my Dad has expressed a rather different opinion on the last two posts I made. Let me give you a picture of the man I call Dad......

My father, to my knowledge, has never put a cigarette or a cigar or a pipe to his lips. My father, to my knowledge, has never had any alcohol cross his tongue. [There was an incident with cologne when he was a teenager that I never understood, but I don't think that counts as drinking alcohol.] My father, to my knowledge, has never smoked, shot, snorted, inhaled, dissolved, sucked, or swallowed any illegal drugs. My father is an upright man with upright morals. He does not compromise on his beliefs or his morals. He stands up for what he believes in and does not waver in those beliefs. As such, he would have no problem with smoking or drinking or drugs being made illegal across the board. I am thankful I grew up in a home where I knew where my parents stood on things and would fight for those same things. That determination rubbed off on me and is why I am so adamant about the things I believe in. And that is where I am at on this issue.

I have to disagree with my father that this is not an issue of freedom. I am not now or have I ever denied that smoking is harmful and dangerous. I am also fully aware that second hand smoke is just as, if not more dangerous. And I would agree that a lifetime of smoking will most likely cause health problems and is a stupid thing to do. But so many other things that we do are just as stupid and dangerous. A woman is as close to death as she will ever be when giving birth to a child. A person that over-eats is killing themselves with every bite of food they eat past full. And people that jump out of airplanes and off bridges are 100% more likely to die from those things than people that don't. The point is that we have the freedom to do all of those things. Just because we can doesn't mean we should; just like my Dad's comment about guns and machetes. But these issues aren't about how stupid we can be, they're about the freedom to be stupid.

Like I said in my first post, if you fear second hand smoke, stay away from places where you'll encounter it. There are far more restaurants and businesses that don't allow smoking than there are that allow it. Those places have found out that they will get more business from families if they take out their smoking sections. If it works for them, that's great. And then there are places that have decided there is another group of people. Those people's money is just as green and spends just as fast. So those businesses have decided to monopolize on that and they allow smoking in their establishments. If it works for them, just as great! We as consumers now have a choice. What we choose is our choice and shouldn't be decided by someone else. If you don't like smelling someone else's cigarette smoke, tell the business owner. Enough people do that and he/she might change their mind. It's called capitalism, and it does work.

The Bill of Rights states that our freedoms and how we act on them are precious and protected as long as those actions don't impede on the freedoms of others. If someone else's smoke is bothering you, they would be impeding on your freedom to not want to smell it or breath it in. At the same time, a business owner's freedom of opening a business that drew in a diverse crowd and made him a lot of money, has the right to do that. Wouldn't we also be impeding on his rights to have the kind of business he wants if we made him run it in a way he didn't want to? It's not as pretty but it's still a freedom.

I thing the real issue is the point I made in my first post.....We live in a culture of pure laziness. People like my Dad don't want to have to take the time to find a place that doesn't allow smoking, they would rather it be outlawed altogether so they can go wherever they please and the world be exactly how they want it to be. We need to stop being so lazy and make informed decisions, and I don't mean the voting on these two issues. We need to be aware of where we eat, we need to be educated on what we buy and where it came from, we need to be aware of the poisons corporate farms put on our food, we need to be aware of the lies of the devil in our culture. [I may be getting off on a tangent.] Too many people just sit back and take everything they see or read or eat or drink and never question anything. Too many people want to take the easy way out. Not enough people are aware and conscious of everything around them. That takes too much time and they're tired of trying. Like I said, laziness.

How arrogant are we that we think our rights are more important than everyone else's? How arrogant are we that we think we can impose our beliefs on other's? How arrogant are we that we think that this little issue is about smoking and not the stripping of freedoms? There is nothing wrong with having beliefs and standing up for them, but there is something extremely wrong with demanding that others share your beliefs. I enjoy smoking my pipe Dad, and I am offended that you think your rights are more important than mine. I still love ya though! Thanks for making me think about this.

2 Comments:

Blogger Laura said...

I know that we have talked about this government scheme, and it really is a good scheme. How can something like smoking be banned all over if it is a legal and aboveboard right for anyone to smoke? What's next? Making smoking illegal next and everything else that us Americans take for granted as our own personal liberties? I also will be voting NO on this one. It's not a matter of smoking it's a matter of our rights.

3:13 PM  
Blogger Papa D said...

I love you too, Sam, but how arrogant have you become that you think your freedoms are more important than mine? How arrogant of you to impose your beliefs on the rights of my grandchildren to breathe? How arrogant of you to think that this is about YOUR freedom and not the freedoms of a million others. This is not about having beliefs or about standing up for them, but of demanding that you force those beliefs on me and others like me who get sick when they smell smoke. And I mean literally, actually, physically sick, not some concocted thing like "I'm sick of going to work".
You are absolutely right - there IS something extremely wrong when you believe that just because YOU want to exercize your rights that it must also include the rights of everyone around you. Smoke if you want. Die if you want from it. You have that right. Just do it on your own time, in your own space. If I want to smell your smoke I'll come sit on your porch (that would be kind of nice, actually, given the present circumstances) But to sit in a public place where I have no other choice, like the line at the driver's licence burough or the jury deliberation room at the courthouse, or even at a local restaurant that serves the best pizza in town, and be forced to swollow your freedom of choice is seriously, in fact criminally, denying my rights to breathe the relatively clean air (tongue in cheek can be assumed here).

You mentioned other dangerous things liike giving birth and jumping out of airplanes - did you also notice that these things were done on an individual basis? Just because you want to jump out of an airplane does not infringe on my rights to not jump out of an airplane, and just because I have a baby (now THERE's a strange thought!) does not force you to also have a baby. But in a local restaurant your exercize of freedom DOES force me to participate in your stupidity (your word, not mine) and that is fundamentally wrong. I would agree with one of those two proposals, the 90% one, except that it is an Ohio constitutional amendment, and frankly, I think we ought to reserve changing the constitution for only the most serious of issues. To have a few places, like bars, taverns, and other similar places is not an affront to civility, but the local Bob Evans is NOT one of those places.

And to add a little more fuel to the fire, I wouldn't even mind if there were some places like the above mentioned that had separate rooms for smoking, but to put up a half wall and simply declare it as the smoking section is absurd.

OK, you got me started so I'll choose to exercise my freedom to stop. By the way, this IS about smoking in public places. You would still have the freedom to smoke on your porch, in your garden, at your friends house or on their porch, in the woods or in your car. Just don't try to force it down someone else's throat and pretend to call it freedom - it is, rather, selfishness.

And, as the old saying goes, put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Dad.

10:37 AM  

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