Dear Mr. Not-Getting-Another-Vote-From-Me:
I remember the last time you ran for office, how you promised to bring forth change into our lives, how you’d better our educations and brighten our roads. I remember voting for you believing said change.
While I will save the better-or-worse part of my statement for later, you were right: you did bring change. Most recently, a little less than a year ago, you signed into law a smoking ban, which makes it illegal for anyone to smoke inside 15 feet of bars and restaurants. I’m not going to argue the health benefits of not-or-never lighting up – a friend of mine recently did so in an explosive fashion, better than I could having never smoked. I do, however, have enough reason to dislike this addition to your hypocrisy.
The first stop is the businesses affected by this. I like to go see my friends, who often hang out at a well-known 24/7 Diner around here after work (in most cases.) I have the unfortunate disposition (which I fully admit to placing myself in) of having the bus be my main mode of transportation. Before the smoking ban, the only thing I needed to worry about was making it out to see them – and if they weren’t there or the place closed, where else to go. On my first visit out to see them afterwards, I learned that the business was going to enforce certain other rules (that they’ve been lax to enforce – hence why the name ain’t mentioned) in addition to the ban, and that my friends, who are mostly smokers, are protesting it by going over to his house. I would have been stranded out there all night had I not caught the bus in time and called a friend to get me where the bus could not. Not too happy with that.
Fast forward a week and a half, to last night. I figured, after going and watching movies at the theatre like I usually do on a Saturday night, I’d wait until I was within that Diner’s rules before going there, and went to another well-established 24/7 whose name clearly is the product they sell. I get to the door, and there’s a new sign, showing what time they’re open: They’re no longer a 24/7! Their business, which relied on the smokers you recently banned from public places, went downhill after bar-rush, and as a result, they had to roll with the punches. I was very lucky and appreciative when I went to the normal place to find that, even if the rules were being strictly enforced, the conflicts and problems I was worried about never came to be.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot you’re not responsible for: It’s not your fault my health and safety is compromised by an imperfect bussing system, nor is it your fault the smokers choose either to stay or go home after they drink. You obviously aren’t holding a gun to the heads of my friends, forcing them either to smoke or to stay at home, and obviously our first amendment prevents you from doing anything against the crybabies who are taking this whining to the extreme. And because most of the states around here have similar bans, it’s not like the businesses in our area are going to lose businesses to other counties, cities or nearby states.
My problem stems from the stupidity of humanity. People hate feeling oppressed and having rights taken away, no matter how dangerous it is to them and those around them. For the past year, this ban has come up a number of times, increasing steadily as the date of change got nearer. People who get angry do stupid things, and sometimes those stupid things affect those who should not be affected by all.
Had you placed your money that was spent advertising and enforcing the shit out of this new law instead of investing it into more-important public needs, such as education or transportation, or perhaps even creating something to help us, such as something to fix our health system, this ban wouldn’t be disliked by me. Had you not banned it, many bartenders, waiters and waitresses would not have to worry about how to get additional money while this idiocy passes over. At the very least you could have sent us all a whining kit (consisting of duct tape and ear plugs) so that the noise pollution could go down.
But my biggest gripe, the one that proves that whatever your reasons are for this lunacy, it ain’t for our health, is that it was not an outright ban that also did something about alcohol or other toxic and unhealthy things. You’re not offering any additional help in getting people to quit, you’re telling them they’re limited to their homes to do it, where they can make their loved ones – spouses, kids – sick from the stuff. Smokers are your current target, and as soon as you have taken away the last of their rights, you’re going to waste more taxpayer money by targeting another “problem”, whittling it away slowly without fully solving the problem.
The way I see it, the biggest problem is you – you and your lobbyists who want to control everything so that we become mindless drones in a faceless society. With every new law that seems to pass, some freedom or right gets taken away, and while you can sit there and lie to the public about how much better you’re making our society, I know the real truth: That this is nothing more than a money game for you. After all, we’ve known for years how dangerous smoking is to us, both first-and-second hand – why wait until now to do something?
So keep passing new laws and regulations to further restrict us – I’m sure eventually someone will get fed up and take things to the level that neither of us want. In the mean time, I’m going to do those things in my power to see to it you and your buddies are voted out of office. Eventually, your day will come.
Your loyal taxpaying american
Wayne C. Winquist
P.S. I wouldn’t sweat it – considering how mindless we are getting, I doubt your removal from office will be immediate.