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©March 2001

Carol Jane Remsburg



Legislating Common Sense





That's right, coming to the US Congress near you—The Legislation of Common Sense.  This concept will be punted over to the Senate sans any nays from the House, whereupon the Senate will embrace it with all the fervor that takes hold of the newly converted.  They'll slap it full of "PC" wording in such a way that no sitting president would dare veto such a law.  Yep, I can see it coming just like I can foresee the Pentium 6 coming down the pike.  It's a no brainer.  But should we allow this runaway train to ever come to full steam?


I say a resounding "Nay!"


In today's world I must be a tad circumspect and feel shamed because I was raised by a set of parents, my real, biological parents who stayed married until "death did them part."  Therefore, I must be warped because I wasn't raised by my grandmother, stepsister, or simply in the foster-care system.  What do I know about anything in life?  Apparently not much.


I wasn't abused and I wasn't spoiled.  I didn't have everything "every other kid had" but I lacked for no necessity.  I learned the value of hard work and cried and whined about it ceaselessly.  I finally figured out that life's gifts weren't supposed to be handed to you on a platter—which I would have much preferred.  I learned about failure but I also learned about success.  Much of this learning comes down to simple, essential Common Sense—something my mother despaired that I'd never adopt. 


In recent weeks there has been a bill drafted and presented to Congress with all the flourish of being momentous.  What is that bill?  The bill mandates that all children riding a "scooter" must wear protective gear.  Why does that bug me?  Why does that make me gnash my teeth?


The "why" is easy.  These sleek chrome scooters have been the target of just the latest in current outrage.  Scooters are dangerous!  Everyone knows this!  "They average (fill-in-the-blank) serious accidents every day that are directly from the usage of these scooters!"


Ho-hum.  If you are talking about percentages then let's talk about bicycles, skateboards—or how about cars?  But that's not what this is really about.  This latest hoopla is just another attempt to further govern our lives with over-caution and rules.  I don't know about you, but my mother taught me never to run with any type of sharp object (scissors, pencils, etc.).  My mother also taught me not to walk into traffic and how to be careful.  Still, accidents will happen and they happen every day—sometimes the simplest of errors in judgment can bring about serious injury or even death. 


One plainly cannot legislate the avoidance of error in judgment.  You cannot do this.  It doesn't work.  Oh, there are bright people, average people, and really dumb people.  Um, I am again not being "PC," but we all know this is true.  The real truism is that no matter how bright or how stupid you are, accidents will happen—no amount of deterrent or laws upon the books will prevent them.  Some will sermonize from the mount that it's "God's Will" or something like that.  Accidents usually aren't.  What they are, are merely accidents.  Politicians hate that kind of stuff.  They are more anal than I am in wanting to control all and everything. 


Me, I know how my gene pool is.  I'm an over-protective mother and I go out of my way to ensure that my little one doesn't break anything important—but I still want her to live and learn and experience life.  She can't do that the way I did.  There was so much more freedom back in the late 60's and early 70's when kids took off in the morning and didn't come home until dinner.  They learned a bit of common sense or they didn't survive.  That was just that.


Now most of us live in fear as parents and our children don't even realize that every facet of their lives are governed and overseen to prevent them from making even the simplest of errors.  We've cocooned them so much that when we expect them to be grown-up they are little more than tots about the ways of the world. 


It's now that we label coffee from the fast-food drive-thru as "hot, can scald producing serious burns" when that old lady should have known.  No, strike that.  If that elderly lady has lived long enough to become a crone—she knows that coffee is hot.  I'll bet SHE had a mom who taught her better—yet likely the thought of money from that lawsuit drew her better.  Geez!


What's worse is that nearly the same thing can be spotted on any item you purchase, like if you bought a blow dryer for your hair—"Do not operate underwater—it will cause electrocution."  Duh!  With razors?  "Be careful of application, this may cause cuts and abrasions—do NOT allow children to play with."  Oh, come on!  Now if you want to go BIG, think of the vehicle disclosures.  Remember, if you are buying a car you ought to have passed a test and garnered a license—"Do not drive at night without vehicle headlamps turned on—it could cause an accident otherwise."  Just kill me—okay?


So, now that all the manufacturers of products have been quite properly "PC" chastened, they are going to do it to us in another way.  Now we can't allow our kids to play.  What's next?  You know what's coming.


The next bill to come to the table will be to put forth a law stating that anyone exiting their homes/mansions/hovels when the outdoor temperatures are below 46o Fahrenheit without a coat with the "preferred" thickness and warmth will be arrested.  Conversely, anyone found wearing a heavy sweater in 85o Fahrenheit weather will be hauled indoors to the jail where it's cooler and they can beat you with rubber hoses for your own good (read—to cure you of your own stupidity). 


The follow-up bill to that will to be to ban the obese or even the slightly overweight from fast-food restaurants.  You'll need to get a "fat-check" certificate before you purchase any meals.  Either that, or they'll run the exam at the door and turn you away.  Grocery stores will no longer offer any foods with any fats—unless you are on the "Atkins' Diet" in which case they are stores unto themselves and sell nothing with carbohydrates.  Oh, and you'll need to be certified before entering any of the stores either way.


Chocolate will become illegal.  Sugar in any form will be banned—right down to alcohol and vapors from confectioner's sugar.  We will become sheep for we have no minds of our own.  We ought to have no opinions or choices because we are sheep and must be shepherded by the guiding hand that knows better than we. 


Yeah, right!


Life actually is for the living.  Living is fraught with fright, worry, demons, depressions, and monkeys on our backs.  Normally we find this all worth the trial—not because someone else tells us it should be. 


It's just that when we succeed in some small way on our very own that all of the stresses we endure make it worth the effort—not because somebody else made us.  No.  We can be fat.  We can be thin.  We can be smart or stupid.  We can be successes and we can be failures.  Everyone has been and felt all of those things.  To strive and to achieve them on our own is what life is all about.  We don't want it handed to us or written into some silly law.  Let us remain living in the "Land of the Free."  Me, I am still trying for the "Home of the Brave."  Work with me here . . .



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