Conservative to the Core

Beware liberals peddling nonsense

By Tom Seymour | Oct 06, 2017

The New York Times recently ran a piece supporting Kenya’s Draconian laws regarding plastic bags, even suggesting that the United States follow suit.

Kenya has imposed a penalty of between $19,000 and $38,000 or a four-year stretch in jail for manufacturers and importers of plastic bags. It doesn’t appear that our federal government will go that far, but two states have enacted their own laws. Various towns and cities, too, have jumped on the bandwagon, including Portland and Belfast.

California was the first to “ban the bag,” back in 2014. But given the Golden State’s political makeup, that shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Likewise, Gov. Cuomo of New York State has seen to it that the Empire State charges a 5-cent “fee” (read that “fine”) on plastic bags.

In reality, plastic bags are one of the most useful products going. Liberals consider plastic bags a “one-time-use” product, which is a totally ridiculous assumption. I don’t know a single soul (of course I don’t hang out with leftists, either) who doesn’t re-use plastic bags in a multitude of ways.

As an example, I personally use plastic bags as wastebasket liners, short-term refrigerator storage bags and receptacles to place fish in after I’m done cleaning them. Also, as a gardener, I fill plastic bags with fresh vegetables to bestow upon my friends. Sometimes, when transplanting flowers and other plants I’ll place the fresh-dug plant, along with lots of damp soil, in a plastic bag. This prevents the roots from drying out, something critically important when transplanting. The uses for plastic bags, other than their primary use of carrying groceries and other small items home, are legion.

For many, including me, plastic bags are indispensable. Whatever would we do without them? Also, plastic bags are recyclable, just like bottles, cardboard and cans. And yes, people litter and sometimes that litter consists of plastic bags. But instead of blaming the bag, how about blaming the people who litter?

If those who seek to ban the bag only redirected their efforts toward ending littering, then they would be doing something positive. As it stands, people who litter need to find some reason not to litter. It’s as simple as that. Heavier fines might help, as would an increased law enforcement presence regarding littering.

Many years ago anti-littering signs lined the roadways. The news media even got in the act, imploring people not to litter. How many remember the anti-littering television ad that featured Iron Eyes Cody mounted on a horse, dressed in headdress and looking down upon a litter-strewn roadside? Cody never said a word. He didn’t have to. A single tear running down his cheek told the whole story.

So before signing on to the ban-the-bag campaign, perhaps it might be worth a moment to reflect upon all the uses of plastic bags. And also, for those community-minded persons, instead of working to ban bags, try a change-about and work to stop littering.

Unhappy holidays

Here’s another example of time misspent. As of October 2016, 25 cities across the country had replaced Columbus Day with “Indigenous People’s Day,” and Belfast has joined them.

But behind the supposed good intent of those who work so hard to demean and defame the memory of Christopher Columbus lies a possible irony. Columbus Day is one of 10 federal holidays recognized by the United States government. All federal, along with some private and state institutions, are closed on Columbus Day. Now here’s where things get interesting.

Back in 1970 the government changed the Columbus Day holiday from October 12, the day Columbus discovered the New World, to the second Monday in October. Why did this occur? In order to create another three-day weekend ending with a paid Monday holiday, that’s why.

This has happened with every other federal holiday with, as far as I can determine, two exceptions. Those are New Year’s Day and Independence Day. Even the most hardened of political hacks couldn’t bring themselves to celebrate New Year’s on any other day than Jan. 1 or Independence Day on any other day than July 4. There is simply no justification for it.

And now it gets interesting. It’s a sure bet that many who vehemently despise the memory of Christopher Columbus fall in line with everyone else and take advantage of the Columbus Day holiday. Hypocrites all. A truly honest dissenter would either come in to work on Columbus Day or, barring that, refuse to accept pay for a holiday that honors such a “pariah” as Christopher Columbus. We shall see.

Finally, there is no reason we can’t celebrate both Indigenous People’s Day and Columbus Day on separate days. But that seems too simple and practical for the left to consider.

Tom Seymour is a freelance magazine and newspaper writer, book author, naturalist and forager. He lives in Waldo.

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