15 September 2006
Is anyone else pissed off — or even concerned — about the fact that our freedoms are gradually vaporizing? Does anyone care that the United States government and individual state governments can take our property, dictate business owners' practices or delve into our personal lives? Because if anyone else is pissed off about what's happening to our rights, then they sure aren't speaking up about it.
Although I find it incredible that monkey-boy George W. Bush not only thinks it's OK to listen in on people's telephone calls, but that he actually ordered it, it's not one of my main concerns. Go ahead. Listen in, Georgie-Porgie. The most interesting conversation you're going to hear on my telephone is when my next booty call will take place. I think we should all have a little fun with Bush's wire-tapping, too. I make sure to toss "terrorist" and "bomb" and "goddamn christians" into my telephone conversations. I'm not a terrorist, but I think it's funny to play with the government by dropping a few of their favorite keywords now and then.
The rights that we'll really miss are things like ... oh, our homes! Do people really think that eminent domain is just dandy? Frankly, the fact that the local government can tell me that they're going to demolish my house to build another godforsaken strip mall really makes me angry. The fact that they would then rape me on the price of my house makes me irate. But folks, this is what our increasingly conservative Supreme Court has ruled is A-OK.
No one really seems to be saying anything about this, though. The people who have lost their homes may have something to say, but it's interesting how local governments tend to pull eminent domain in poorer areas, where residents aren't likely to have the money to loudly protest or hire lawyers and sue. I don't envision any local government going into an area of $300,000 homes and telling the residents that they want to tear down their homes to build a new Wal-Mart SuperCenter. So not only is it possible for the government to take our property, but it's also another way of screwing over poor people.
Another right that I'm really going to miss is the freedom to smoke anywhere outside my house. That's what we're moving toward — you can smoke in your house, but nowhere else.
How is it that local and state governments can tell a business owner that they can't allow smoking in their establishment? Tobacco is legal, smoking is legal. The business is private property. Business owners know their clientele; they'll ban smoking from their operation if their clientele doesn't like it. But what about the owners who want to allow their customers to smoke? California has a statewide total ban on smoking. Boston, Chicago and New York have citywide bans on smoking. Even cities in Nebraska (red state in the middle of the country for the geographically challenged) are enacting smoking bans. Consider the infringement on the rights of business owners to determine how they run their businesses, and the infringement on the rights of the smokers to enjoy a good nicotine buzz while they have a cocktail inside a bar.
Apparently the business owners and smokers don't have a problem with the pursuit of happiness being ripped away from them, because I've yet to hear of a group of business owners getting together and filing a lawsuit against a city or state for enacting a smoking ban. Such a group could take it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. They could ask the tobacco companies to fund the lawsuit. Hey, I can figure this out. Why can't anyone else?
If the threats of STDs and HIV haven't scared you into putting a rubber on that willy every single time you have sex, then maybe the banning of abortion will. (Some people seem to be more afraid of getting knocked up or knocking up someone than of contracting incurable or deadly diseases.)
South Dakota has already banned abortion. And did I mention our increasingly conservative Supreme Court? Curious George will certainly encourage his justices to do their best to overturn Roe v. Wade and illegalize abortion. So all the fertile-myrtles out there who don't use birth control — or use it half-assed — won't have any option but to carry those oops-babies to term or have illegal abortions performed, which are likely to end in severe or fatal infection.
Overpopulation already plagues the planet and bad parenting is epidemic in the United States, so the last thing we need are unplanned, unwanted babies. And what about the people who can't afford to have children — or more children? How many children are going to be abandoned or thrown in trash cans? Sent to social services so our tax money must support them? The social and economic repercussions of banning abortion could be dramatic.
Although I am pro abortion rights, I am not in favor of abortion as a form of birth control. The awful experience of one should make any woman double-up on birth control to prevent ever having another. But birth control sometimes fails, women are victims of rape or incest, and everyone makes a mistake. Women deserve the option to have a pregnancy terminated — legally and safely.
Think about these issues, dear readers. These are but a few of the freedoms our governments are taking from us. And we are just sitting around, letting it happen. Be assured that there are more freedoms vanishing, which will provide plenty of fodder for future columns.