Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I-901: the great conservative sellout

I hate to use such a vitriolic headline, but I can't find better words for it. I'm seeing just how uneducated conservatives can be in their own professed philosophy. I'm seeing Washington republicans throw away their principles just because they happen to not like smoking.

The source of my problem is Initiative 901, which is intended to effectively ban smoking anywhere but reservations and your own house (you might get away with it if you stand in the middle of an intersection too). Of course, you'll also probably have to be careful that you shut all your doors and close all your windows and light up in the basement...just in case your neighbor smells it inside his equally sealed house, get's a headache and lung cancer, files a complaint, or worse, sues you to pay for his lung transplant. If you happen to own a bar that smokers like to frequent, you'd better get a whole new set of customers because catering to smokers will be against the law.

Property rights? What are those?

Susan Rosenberry of The Western Front did a good job of covering it in last Friday's issue. One quote that struck me:

If it passes, the initiative would ban smoking inside Washington public spaces, including restaurants, bars, bowling alleys and public transportation vehicles such as taxis, said Dr. Chris Covert-Bowlds, a Bellingham physician and sponsor of the initiative. The smoking restriction would also extend to 25 feet away from the entrance of the public establishment, he said.

“It’s not that we are trying to force people to stop smoking,” Covert-Bowlds said. “We are just trying to protect employees’ rights to breathe smoke-free air.”

WHAT RIGHT WAS THAT? Where do we keep coming up with all these new-and-improved, extraconstitutional rights? What right can an employee claim if they knew they were applying to work in a smoke-filled environment?

A friend of mine who is a leader in the Whatcom County Republican Party (he helped write our county platform last year) had this to say about his support for the initiative when I asked him (email excerpt):

Never ask an ex-smoker (like me) how they feel about smoking! We converts/previous smokers all hate it and can't stand the smell of it!...Bottom line, your ability to smoke ends at the end of my nose and if I can smell it, you can't do it. Majority always rules sooner or later.

I have never heard anything quite so abhorrent to the basic principles of our constitution or the free market. He complained he can never bowl because they all are smoking establishments. So? Start your own bowling alley...don't sit there and force them, through trumped-up laws, to cater to you just because you have a medical aversion to something they do.

Is there a better way of saying this that I'm missing? Is something unclear? Does anyone know what private property means?

Smoking is still legal. Until it is outlawed, I will not support anything that restricts a business owner's right to cater to smokers. I'm sorry if your nose starts running and you get a headache...I sometimes do too. You've survived up to this point.

The government isn't here to make laws for my convenience!

Crossposted at Western Washington Unraveled
<< Home 8 Comments:
Blogger Joshua said...

Question, American Conservatives talk a lot about property rights. I'm not terribly familiar with how these are layed out in the Constitution. Do you know where in the Constitution it deals with property rights because I'd like to get a better grasp of this topic. Thanks!

11:49 AM, November 02, 2005  
Blogger Gloria said...

You have got to kidding right? Where on earth did freedom of speech go. I don't have problem with having a spoke every now and again. I do have a problem with people who are addicted to spoking. But I don't will never support something that stops everyone from smoking. To me this goes against our constitution.

3:59 PM, November 02, 2005  
Blogger Mark R said...

The 3rd, 4th and 5th ammendents are property rights ammendments:

3: no military quartering in time of peace without consent.

4: no unreasonable search and seizure (the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects...)

5: No person shall... "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

This last one is especially pertainant because private property in this case is being treated like public property. In fact, I have heard that very language. They are calling the businesses in question "public," which is legal absurdity.

There is a similar (although more extreme case) where some courts have declared shopping malls part of the "public square," forcing the owners to give space to political speech on their property. The arguments for this are varied and it depends on the state usually. Some say that malls are replacing the public arena and therefore must give space for the otherwise availible public speech.

Regardless, a smoking bar is still provate property, and while there isn't a legal expectation of privacy, like in a residence, the question of who can do what on the premises is still in the hands of the owner.

4:42 PM, November 02, 2005  
Blogger Joshua said...

Thanks Mark!
Gloria - I don't really see a connection between smoking and freedom of speech? Perhaps I don't have a good grasp of freedom of speech.
Incredible how much I still have to learn even though I've lived on this side of the border for almost 8 years now!

9:29 AM, November 03, 2005  
Blogger Mike said...

The lines between what you can and can't do are ever increasingly being based on the offending of others around you.

12:01 PM, November 03, 2005  
Blogger Gloria said...

Hmm. Freedom of speech was not what I meant to wright. Neither did I intend to spell smoke as spoke. Sorry. What meant was our rights as being free to do as we please as long as it does not break the law. That may not make sense ether but I'm not very good at writing down what I'm thinking. Have you noticed?

5:37 PM, November 03, 2005  
Blogger Kristi said...

I wouldn't necessarily call it "a medical aversion," even if it was a Doctor who promoted this. More on that later perhaps-I have to get back to work.

1:58 PM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger Gloria said...

augh! I did it again!It is write not wright.

5:10 PM, November 04, 2005  

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