Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Useless Grandstanding...

So apparently, some members of the 'world's greatest deliberative body' as well as some of our finest bureaucrats have decided they need to stick their noses where they don't belong...
U.S. senators and health officials are taking on a baseball tradition older than the World Series itself: chewing tobacco on the diamond.

With the Series set to begin Wednesday between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers, the senators, along with health officials from the teams' cities, want the players union to agree to a ban on chewing tobacco at games and on camera. They made the pleas in separate letters, obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.
Quick disclaimer - I am a former smoker and I find smokeless tobacco to be repulsive at best. That being said, this is patently absurd. If they want to use chew and dip, then they should be able to do so. It's their life and freedom, and it is up to them to deal with the consequences of their actions. But that's not enough, it would seem...
"When players use smokeless tobacco, they endanger not only their own health, but also the health of millions of children who follow their example," the senators wrote to union head Michael Weiner.

The senators noted that millions of people will tune in to watch the World Series, including children.

"Unfortunately, as these young fans root for their favorite team and players, they also will watch their on-field heroes use smokeless tobacco products," they wrote.
In Senate speech Tuesday, Durbin said, "Let's not let the health and safety of young baseball fans across America be a bargaining chip between the major league players and the owners. Let's win one for the kids across America."
This is what Senator Durbin used our taxpayer dollars to pontificate about on the floor of the Senate? Shouldn't they be working on things like how to remove burdensome regulations on businesses? Is this what our politicians are reduced to? Harassing entertainers and athletes when they are getting set to play on the biggest stage.  And for what?  To make oneself look good?

Never forget, our political masters know us better than we know ourselves.

Whatever happened to personal responsibility and parents actually, you know, raising their children with a set of standards?  Or do parents now expect the State to do that job for them too?  If our political masters were actually concerned about the health of the youth of America, they might undertake legislation that would actually put a dent into it:

Ban the NFL and football

But of course not; instead they decide to go after individual behavior that, by the way, is a choice.  You know, a choice?  But apparently, some choice is permitted while others are not.  I just get sick and tired of people who have made it their business to try and know what my business is.  Get a hint - butt out.  If Josh Hamilton and Matt Holliday want to pop a can of Skoal during the game, more power to them.  I also have the ability to say it's disgusting, and parents can teach their children about how it isn't healthy and the effects of long-term usage.

Senator Durbin, et al - shut up and go away.  Tend to your own house.  We'll tend to ours.

P.S. I'm pretty sure that Senator Durbin and Co. will have zero problem with protesters streaking across Busch Stadium during the World Series, though, because after all, they will just be 'making a statement'.  Children seeing nudity must be ok according to them, but grown men chewing tobacco isn't.  I just want to rip what is the remainder of my hair out.  


AK said...

Two comments about this post.

First of all, I hope you are equally vociferous about the legalization of all narcotics, lest you be the basest of all of humanity: a hypocrite.

Second, where in that article linked in the post script is evidence that Durbin and, by extension, Democrats or Senators or both, want children watching the World Series exposed to nudity any more than they want them exposed to unhealthy adult habits?

Joshua Lattanzi said...

1) I am certainly not in favor of the legalization of narcotics. However, so long as tobacco is a legal substance, our political masters can't pick and choose when and where it should or shouldn't be exposed, although that doesn't stop them from trying, to be sure.

2) I have yet to hear any condemnation about the disgusting displays from the Occupy Wall Street crowd, including the public copulation and streaking, never mind the general spoiled brattiness and incoherent 'message'. Ergo, no problem with it there in NY, and it follows that there is no problem with it at the WS in St. Louis.

All of this would have been a moot point had the politicians just said 'hey, we know what you are trying to do, and we sympathize, but you can't do (fill in the blank)...' Instead what we are left with is a blanket endorsement or stone silence. All in the name, of course, of political opportunism.

AK said...

See, the inconsistencies of your argument are what bug me. You say that the *choice* to do something should be sacred, and then you advocate banning the NFL and football (particularly youth football, given the context). But doesn't someone have a choice in playing football? It's not forced upon you. You're arguing that the government should take away the choice to do something - which is exactly what you are railing against in the use of Skoal during the World Series.

Also, I needn't have to point out the inconsistency (and, let's be honest, hypocrisy) of permitting the choice to use one narcotic and limiting or eliminating the choice to use another.

AK said...

All of which is to say that you mask your conservative values with libertarianism, but deep down you're not a libertarian. You don't want people to have the choice to do what they please. You want them to have the choice to do what YOU think is acceptable. You are only getting upset, then, at someone else voicing THEIR opinions of what THEY think is acceptable for people to choose.

Joshua Lattanzi said...

First of all, I was being completely facetious in calling for the banning of the NFL and football. I was using an absurd premise to make the point of the title of this post - grandstanding. It's much easier to go after something like dip in pro baseball even though the people affected by it are a lot less than those who are affected by head injuries and other injuries in football.

If they were completely serious about health issues rather than scoring cheap political points, then they would go after something much more structural than whether Josh Hamilton carries a can of Skoal around on the field.

Of course I am not a libertarian. Libertarianism is a completely childish political philosophy that has no place in a world of adults. My attitude is that libertarian thought provides medicine against an overreaching state, but is not sustenance for any kind of long term. No, I don't want people to just do as they please - that would be anarchy at its finest. Other people are voicing their opinion about doing X, Y, Z, and I am voicing my opinion that they are wrong and the reasons why are enumerated above.

It's not hypocrisy to say some substances should be allowed and others aren't. Not all substances are created equally. Smoking cigarettes and doing dip don't cause impairment in the same fashion as alcohol, marijuana, or heroin do. Hypocrisy would be me saying that you can't do X, Y, Z, but it is ok for me to do the same things.