Commentary

Patricia Suzanne | Politics 2019: There’s So Much at Stake

Do you remember a time when you didn’t think about politics? When you could go to work, take care of the kids, enjoy popcorn and a movie, shop for clothes or furniture without giving a thought to what is happening in Washington or Sacramento? Now, it seems everything is political. Why is this?

Why is everyone so agitated? Why do we all take it so personally? I know people who maneuver the words “Donald Trump” into almost any conversation. Seriously? Do his words or actions have THAT much of an effect on you?

My theory is that this agitation we all feel isn’t about the president or any other specific party platform or public figure. It stems from escalating government interference in our personal lives.

Government now touches almost everything we do. The light bulbs we screw in, toilets we install, foods that can and cannot be legally sold (raw milk, anyone?), changing gasoline formulas, mandated licenses, fees, permits, surcharges, regulations, restrictions and, of course, taxes on just about everything and school curricula dictated from on high. You name it.

We think about and talk politics all the time because there is so much at stake! 

This fall, the Supreme Court will take on its first gun-rights case in a decade – New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. New York City. You see, the city of New York requires that if you own a licensed firearm, it has to STAY in your home unless you’re taking it to one of seven shooting ranges within city limits. You cannot transport it anywhere else. Yes, you read that correctly. Want to show your new rifle to your cousin across town? It’s not allowed. Maybe you’d like to take it on a hunting trip, or participate in a shooting competition upstate, or transport the gun to your cabin in Connecticut. Sorry — you’ll be breaking the law. 

There’s a lot at stake here, as this statute comes under Supreme Court scrutiny. Namely, whether states and municipalities have jurisdiction to abridge your Second Amendment rights!

Meanwhile, the First Amendment is under attack in Sacramento. Last month,California Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, announced that only “gender neutral” pronouns will be permitted during her committee hearings. She will not allow anyone to utter the words “he” or “she” or “him” or “her.” 

No, I’m not kidding. It is, sadly, within her authority to make up whatever rules she wants in this little government domain, even if they abridge free speech rights. 

“In the spirit of gender neutrality for the rules of this committee, we now designate the chair as ‘they,’” Jackson said, referring to herself. Pardon me – “theyself.” And then “they” proceeded with committee business, and promptly broke the new rules. You can observe Jackson uttering “she, her, his” and similar pronouns at least 14 times in this little video clip (https://bit.ly/Theyself). 

Up in Berkeley, the city is declaring war on single-use beverage containers. 

Starting in 2020, restaurants and coffee shop patrons will have to pay 25 cents for a disposable cup (and, yes, they’ve already banned plastic straws…). Customers are expected to bring their own mugs, tumblers, maybe even glassware. While reducing waste is commendable, does it need to be legislated? Will the 25-cent fees be used to hire “cup police”? Am I the only one who thinks there might be health considerations here, when people using the restaurant drink machine fill cups they’ve dragged out of the trunk of their car or sipped on with their (potentially germy) mouths throughout the day?

But… Big Brother knows best! 

No matter how you might label yourself — conservative, progressive, liberal, moderate or some sort of blend — you have to acknowledge the ever-expanding size and scope of government and the fact that bureaucratic authority is often in conflict with the will and desires of individuals and private enterprise. Our nation was founded on the principle that people are free by nature and possess inherent rights. The use we make of these rights naturally differs, and the outcomes differ, as well. But the choices should remain ours. 

Why is it that bureaucrats always think they know better than “ordinary” citizens about how we should live our lives?

In the words of our country’s first president, George Washington, “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence – it is force. Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master…” 

Every day, it seems we’re getting burned.

Patricia Suzanne is a professional writer, retired small business owner, and conservative Republican activist. She lives in a modest Newhall home, where the money required for annual property taxes could pay a full year’s rent on a two-bedroom house in Arkansas. “Right Here, Right Now” appears Saturdays and rotates among several local Republicans.

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