Years ago when everyone jumped on the smoking banned-wagon (pun intended), I warned everyone who would listen that we need to be careful about personal rights. Unfortunately, most people don't care unless and until someone proposes to ban something they're fond of.
Recently my family was in a nice restaurant enjoying lunch in New Jersey. An older couple came in and was seated at a table next to us. Obviously these people were old school and stored their winter clothing away with mothballs; a horrible odor that I personally can't stand. When I couldn't think of any way to get up and change tables without making the newcomers feel uncomfortable, I simply, accidentally on purpose, spilled my entire glass of water on the tablecloth, forcing our move to a different table, which my son thought was hillarious. Should I start a petition to ban mothballs?
Many years ago when my youngest son was in grammar school, the McDRUG FREE group in Morristown, NJ decided to include alcohol in their list of drugs, adding "ALCOHOL IS A LIQUID DRUG" to all their banners and fliers. Now, I'm not much of a drinker and never have been, and didn't give this too much thought until I went to the grocery store with my son. My in-laws were coming for dinner and I added a six-pack of beer to my cart, since Grandpa always enjoyed a cold glass with dinner during the summer. My young son started screaming for me to put the beer back on the shelf because it was a liquid drug! I had to explain in great detail that while the McDrug Free group had good intentions, they weren't always right. As a postscript to this, the children were all asked to sign (along with their parents) a pledge to remain drug and alcohol free. After a long discussion, we sent a note to the teacher explaining why Bill would not be participating in this particular pledge. How can an elementary school child have the understanding of a pledge to never take a drink??? When they had the McDrug Free assembly at school and asked each child to stand if they signed the pledge, the students seated near our son wanted to know why Bill didn't have to stand up. Interestingly enough, our children didn't grow up to be druggies or alcoholics, but they did grow up having a strong sense of themselves and a compassion for others. Please don't think this is an attack on the McDrug Free or DARE programs, but our "war on drugs" hasn't been very successful....maybe because we didn't call it the "BAN on drugs"?
I grew up in an age when people would buy cartons of cigarettes as Christmas gifts (back when we could still call it Christmas), the same with BB guns, and no one thought twice about giving their son or daughter a copy of HUCKLEBERRY FINN. We used to have tubes of something called Plastic Bubbles, a horrible chemical smelling substance we could blow into bubbles to toss around. Every young boy made models with that stinky airplane glue -- I'm not even sure this stuff is still being sold. We've evolved into being much more health conscious than our grandparents on one hand which is great, but much less so when it comes to things like food additives and preservatives.
I'm just glad that Mayor Bloomberg didn't attack diet soda or I'd really be in trouble. While I'm thinking about it, New Yorkers need to definitely ban a fourth term for the mayor. I'd sign that petition for sure!