Thursday, March 17, 2005

Government Hypocrisy


I found another example of the paternalism of our state government the other day. Rather, I noticed it some time ago but was recently struck by the grand hypocrisy of it all.

What I saw is an example from the “Do as I say not as I do” category.

I bagging my groceries a few weeks ago, I noticed a large vending machine situated against the wall opposite the cashiers. Oddly enough, rather than dispensing sodas or candy, it was filled with Minnesota Lottery scratch-off cards. Imagine the convenience factor of being able to buy the latest and greatest games offered by our constitutionally created gambling enterprise.

Now, I’m no prude and I do buy the occasional scratch-off at my local convenience store, but I am more than a bit concerned that these machines are accessible by children who’ve not yet reached the age of 18.

And therein lays the hypocrisy found in the rules govern government versus those that govern us.

Remember cigarette machines? In the old days you could find one in every bar, restaurant and laundromat. In convenience stores they had those above the head, easy-to-reach dispensers. A clerk could have your Marlboros on the counter in two seconds.

Not any more. The machines are gone – too accessible to youngsters they said. First they put a lock on them that could only be removed by remote control – usually by the bartender. Then the moved the butts behind the bar.

Gone, too, are the above the counter dispensers. Too close to jr. and jrette. Government said.

We must save the children.

That’s why Joe Camel disappeared. Cartoons target kids. Made them want to smoke, you know.

It’s true. When my oldest was but 4 he wanted to purchase a life insurance policy. He saw Snoopy on one of those Met Life ads. I hate that damn pooch.

None of this stopped the MN Lottery from introducing that annoying little gopher running around on the hamster wheel. Or that stupid cartoon loon. Amazing how state sponsored cartoons that represent adult only activities have no impact on the little kiddies.

Now, they’ve given us the machines. My two-year-old can walk over to it and begin pushing buttons. Oh, nothing will come out, but I have to put up with the constant whining of all three – soon to be four – “can I have one, Daddy, pleeease?”
You tell me what’ more attractive a cigarette machine or a brightly lit scratch off dispenser with really cool illustrations.

Cigarettes bad. Lottery bad if one becomes addicted to gambling, but there are government funded programs to help you overcome your problem, and the money from the lottery goes to help the environment so overall the lottery is good.

And the Left wonders why we on the Right complain?

Am I the only one who has a problem with this?

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