Tuesday, October 4, 2005

The Worst Thing

"There's nothing worse than seeing someone driving down the road, on the phone or shaving or putting on make-up, and there's a child in the back seat.”
-RICHARD ROY, a state representative of Connecticut, on a new law banning the use of cellphones in cars.

The worst thing? Really? The worst. Do you want to think about this at all, Sir? Not at all? It’s the WORST THING. OK. There’s nothing worse. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan of people yakking on cell phones while they are driving, and this includes my lovely and talented fiancĂ©. I might even go so far as to get one of those “Shut up and Drive” bumper stickers... but what if I have to make a call?

Granted, it would be nice if actual common sense prevailed and multitasking was not so fashionable as to make an actual law necessary for such things. But given the prevalence of AM radio-style common sense and the ease with which “the American People’s” feathers get all ruffled when anyone mentions legislating private behavior in this manner, I am sure that plenty of arm chair libertarians and many conservatives will cry foul (fowl?) over any attempt to bring mandates to the state level (as has happened in several states already, so I gather). Never mind that konservatives who cry foul over such laws don’t seem to have a problem with the federal government killing its citizens as part of its criminal justice system or pouncing into the bedroom with sodomy laws or into half the population’s naughty bits with regulations. These seem like extreme and potentially dangerous extensions of governmental power. Nope. Cell phone laws and private property laws and gun laws require red-faced ranting.

Gosh. So many things I could say about what I just said. I basically wanted to make a statement about priorities and perception in America, but I have crushed it under extra words. A woman putting on makeup in the car, baby or not, is poor judgment. Happens all the time. Is it the worst thing? I know this representative’s comments are probably taken out of context in the above quote (found in the New York Times), but I just have to wonder: don’t we have more important things to worry about right now?

Like a new football stadium.

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