2013-03-21 / Viewpoint

Government by the people, for the people?

The VIEW from here


Gary Gould — Managing Editor Gary Gould — Managing Editor Let’s face it, we’ve become a nation of sheep who look to our shepherds — the government — to tell us what to do and when to do it.

The government, by the way, is happy to oblige. People are getting too fat, the government will come along and regulate the food we eat. People are indulging too much in vices like alcohol and tobacco, the government will come along and put more taxes and controls on it.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg already has figured out he has the power to regulate the lives of the people living in his kingdom — errr, I mean his city. Bloomberg, who seems obsessed with keeping New Yorkers healthy, has tried to ban large sodas, salty foods, trans-fats, smoking in public places and traffic so far during his reign. His latest target is again cigarettes, this time aiming to ban them from shelves, forcing them to be moved behind the counters at stores where they are out of sight.

You have to wonder just how far is Bloomberg going to go? Will he try to shut down fast food restaurants in the city? Will exercise become mandatory? Maybe he’ll come for the candy and baked goods next. Or maybe he should just go back to worrying about important stuff like balancing the city budget, keeping his 8.2 million residents safe and sound from real threats like criminals and terrorists and being a real leader instead of a control-freak, micro-manager.

Bloomberg isn’t alone. There are plenty of others in government who are quite happy controlling every little aspect of our lives.

The shootings in Newport, Conn., last year, along with other mass murders, has prompted calls for gun control. Some politicians have approached the subject properly, looking at stiffer controls and regulations, while others have gone right off the deep end proposing a ban on all firearms. I don’t have a hard time saying “let’s look at gun laws” as a nation and decide as a whole if change is necessary. I do have a problem with politicians jumping on the band wagon and saying “we want to ban guns.”

I have even more of a problem with being a gun control advocate, like Mark Kelly, husband of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who was shot and nearly killed during an assassination attempt, who testified in Colorado in favor of gun control one day and went out and bought a semi-automatic pistol, an assault rifle and some high capacity magazines from a gun store the next day.

If you’re going to advocate people giving up their rights, then you should be the first one to lead by example. Otherwise, get down off your soapbox and go home.

I could go on with other examples (i.e. forcing health insurance on the population), but what I’m trying to say is at some point we as a people need to tell politicians “we elected you to represent us in government, to be our voice in Washington, D.C., or Lansing or Genesee County. We did not elect you to be our nursemaid. Stop deciding what you think is best for us and do what we put you in office to do.”

ggould@mihomepaper.com

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