Gut Rumbles

August 12, 2007

dad gum guv'ment

Originally published April 7, 2002

When I was in Florida, I saw a lot of people riding motorcycles. Nobody wore a helmet. That's a strange sight for me, because my beloved state of Georgia cares so much about its citizens that it REQUIRES motorcycle riders to wear helmets. We have mandatory seat belt laws, too. See how compassionate and caring MY government is? MY bureaucrats and nannies aren't like those could-give-a-shits in Florida. If they catch me riding a motorcycle without wearing a helmet or driving without wearing a seat belt, they'll give me an expensive ticket or even ARREST ME because they care so much about me. It is wonderful to be so loved by the government.

I wear a seat belt, not because it's the law, but because I experienced a very dramatic lesson in physics several years ago on Highway 278 near Bluffton, South Carolina. I was in the passenger seat of a brand new Chrysler LeBaron that was travelling 55 miles per hour when it came to an abrupt stop by crashing into the side of another vehicle. I saw the wreck coming and locked my feet on the floor and grabbed the dashboard with both hands. The car stopped, but my ass kept going at 55 miles per hour. I held on to the dashboard, which peeled neatly away in my death-grip as my head went into the windshield and my right knee wiped out all the hardware on the passenger door. I ricocheted off the windshield and ended up face-down on the floorboard with my hat and sunglasses in the back seat. The car was totalled and I was about two inches shorter than I was before compaction. The driver and I both walked away from the wreck, which was amazing if you looked at the car. Front-wheel drive probably saved our lives.

I learned my lesson that day and I have worn a seat belt ever since. But I still believe that the government has no business REQUIRING me to do so. I had a momma and daddy to raise me and enforce certain rules when I was a child. I am a grown man now, and I don't need some pinhead in Atlanta treating me as if I were still six years old. And I damned sure don't need those bloviating toads in Washington, DC to take care of me. I have a college degree, a good job and I pay more than my fair share of taxes (involuntarily, of course). I believe I am capable of making my own decisions without some do-gooder in government telling me how I must live my life.

But government has mutated from what the founding fathers envisioned into a giant octopus that inserts its slimy tentacles into every nook and cranny of life today. Somehow "promote the general welfare" became "micromanage every atom of existence," and we're getting to the point where the government wants to split those atoms and micromanage the pieces, too. And it's not because they're GOOD at it. Hell, the government would fuck up a one-float parade.

They do it because THEY CAN. And we allow it, like the docile sheep we have become.

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