Legislators have an uncanny propensity for excelling in the learned art of political posturing. This skill is manifested in a variety of ways. Sometimes laws are passed laws to solve problems that simply do not exist. On other occasions, laws are enacted which do absolutely nothing to solve actual problems that do exist. Let me explain.
Perhaps you saw where the city of Santa Barbara made national news by passing an ordinance which could send restaurant employees to jail for up to six months for giving out plastic straws.
Other progressive hot spots quickly joined the violent attack on plastic straws. Seattle is imposing a $250 fine on straw-distributing renegades. And the San Francisco city council would not be left in the environmental dust as they voted unanimously to adopt a similar ban. Valiant efforts to to save the planet by criminalizing plastic straws are currently underway in New York City, Portland, Washington, D.C. and other liberal hot beds.
Is anything solved by these aggressive moves to rid America of straw producing eco-terrorists and to fine and imprison those accomplices who perpetuate this shameful practice?
This is a perfect example of political preening and posturing, the pushing of style over actual substance.
According to an article in the National Review, straws represent just 0.02 percent, or 1/5000thof the total plastic waste entering the world’s oceans. And the United States is responsible for only one percent of that total.
Another study by the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research revealed 90% percent of the plastic polluting our world’s oceans comes from just ten rivers, and all of those are located in Asia and Africa.
So much for the image of courageous politicians taking prudent, sacrificial measures to save America from a pressing environmental crisis.
But let me give you another example of political grandstanding that’s closer to home.
A Jewish synagogue in Indianapolis was recently vandalized. A Nazi swastika was spray painted on one of the buildings in a disgraceful display of antisemitism. Fortunately, the criminal actions of the vandals was captured on a surveillance video and we are hopeful that justice will be quickly served.
Under Indiana law, the judge has the power to enact an enhanced sentence for crimes of this nature. But that fact didn’t stop our Governor from exploiting this unfortunate crime by transforming it into a platform for promoting the need for “hate crime legislation.”
Will hate crime legislation actually prevent this kind of behavior from happening? No.
Do hate crime laws actually solve any problems? No. Even proponents of hate crime legislation admits these types of laws are highly subjective and difficult to enforce.
Unfortunately facts don’t matter.
Whether it’s the banning of plastic straws or the attempts to punish perceived prejudice, these types of legislation merely give politicians the opportunity to join their colleagues in bowing before the new political orthodoxy.
Once again, the citizens get symbolism over actual substance, social engineering and identity politics over liberty and justice for all.
And well, that sucks.