Glenn Rappaport won’t micromanage
Basalt faces an important vote on April 3: Either allow their local government to continually encroach on its freedoms in the name of some “good cause,” or tell its elected officials that it can make decisions on its own.
The bag ban isn’t about being allowed to pollute or whether it’s a good idea to minimize waste, it’s about your government’s role in making decisions for you, which limit your freedoms.
My opposition to Basalt’s bag ban has always been about the role our government plays in our daily lives. As Americans, we enjoy many freedoms, including the freedom to do the “wrong thing,” like use plastic bags. Once the government takes away a choice, we lose a freedom.
There are less extreme options that can be taken instead. First and foremost is citizen-to-citizen discussions. If you feel that plastic bags are so hazardous, engage in civic discourse and education.
Next, if government action is necessary, it should use the least restrictive means possible. I would rather see the town implement a recycling program for plastic bags, instead of using a heavy hand to limit our freedom of choice. Recycling has proven very successful with other resources and should be tried first for plastic bags. Implementing less stringent measures minimizes the loss of your freedoms.
While many might agree that such a loss of freedom is acceptable because it will “save the whole world,” such thinking is ultimately shortsighted. It follows logically that if the town council (or majority vote in this case) has the power to tell us what bags to use, it also has the power to tell us what to put in those bags.
Should the council ban or tax soda and candy? Should they limit the size of Starbucks lattes you can buy? Obesity affects our environment because fat people eat more and use more resources that pollute our air and water. It only makes sense if you want to combat global climate change you should support Basalt eliminating or regulating these other unhealthy choices as well.
If you think I’m joking, look no further than the recent case in North Carolina where a preschooler’s lunch of a turkey-and-cheese sandwich, on multigrain bread, a banana, potato chips and apple juice was confiscated, and the girl ate three chicken nuggets from the cafeteria instead, simply because some government worker said her lunch didn’t meet nutritional guidelines. We have government programs and workers ready to decide our eating habits for us, if we allow it to happen.
Jacque Whitsitt wholly supports overreaching government action and regulation. She first supported the bag tax then insisted on the outright ban. Glenn Rappaport at least showed his unease at taking such strong measures, and I believe he will be respectful of the boundaries of government power.
Finally, remember that Jacque Whitsitt actively campaigned against Whole Foods. Such micromanaging of the people’s desires and freedoms should not be in the mayor’s position.
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