A LIFE MORE ORDINARY - Tilting At Bureaucratic Windmills-Sometimes You Just Have To Stand Up

(01/12/2005)

By Gaylen Duskey

realfang@citlink.net

I saw myself on television Monday evening. Man was I big. I forgot just how big because I can't see me. But there I was looking as big as Michael Moore. Just as big, but smarter and more honest I hope.

My 15 seconds of fame came when a film crew from WVAH-TV (Fox 11 in Hurricane) came to the smoking ban forum at the Arnoldsburg Community Building. I was a speaker at that meeting and I guess I made a big target. I was one of the people against the smoking ban.

Why am I against the smoking ban since I am a non-smoker?

Because it just is not right. They wish to impose a smoking ban on all restaurants. In other words a restaurant will not be allowed to have a smoking and a non-smoking section. The owner of the restaurant will no longer be allowed to offer a choice.

And that's the scary part.

If the folks proposing the ban would instead seek to make tobacco illegal . hey, I might even sign the petition. But they aren't doing it that way. Instead they are hell bent on destroying the rights of private property. And that's just plain wrong.

Monday night a bunch of us got to tilt at windmills in a Don Quixote attempt to fight the government. We will lose, of course, because Big Brother - in the case the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department - already has a judge in its pocket and with that the ability to impose its will no matter what the will of the people. The public hearings, I fear, are just window dressing unless we raise such a stink that the level of publicity gets high enough that it shines the light of truth on this governmental power grab. I hear quite often from those supporting the ban that "its for the children."

That is supposed to be the balm that soothes everything.

But why do you suppose those children are in the smoking section anyway. Could it be because their parents smoke? Then would you not suppose their parents also smoked at home?

If they successfully get away with trampling the rights of the business owner then who is next? How long will it be before they tell the parents they no longer have the right to smoke in their house?

It is a scary thought but if you follow it to its logical conclusion that is exactly where it leads. And that is a path that we do not need to go down. When asked why as a non-smoker I am so vehemently opposed to this plan, I think of the words of Martin Neimoeller describing what happened in Germany before World War II.

He wrote:

"First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a communist;

"Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a socialist;

"Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a trade unionist;

"Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a Jew;

"Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak out for me."

That pretty much sums it up. This smoking ban does not affect me because I do not smoke. But it sure is time to speak out.


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