A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
Gruesome pictures on cigarette packs only serve to demonstrate just how ignorant the US Government thinks Americans really are.
I live in a state that was, more or less, financed by tobacco for over 200 years. Within two blocks of my home are three tobacco warehouses where tobacco was trucked in by farmers and sold at auction. I, myself, have followed the auctioneer down the long rows of tobacco as each pile was auctioned off to the highest bidder. I still savor the memory of the aroma of freshly cured tobacco on the floors of those warehouses.
It was a wonderful time here when the tobacco-selling season opened. Money was everywhere. A farmer could truck in a load of tobacco in the early morning and leave the warehouse in the afternoon with a roll of bills large enough to choke a horse. They headed for the retail district of town, ASAP, to pay off loans and buy the needed clothing, etc, for their families and supplies for the next years planting. The sidewalks of our town were so crowded with shoppers that often one would have to walk in the street because maneuvering the sidewalks was impossible. Cash flowed like water.
That is all gone now. The city is a ghost of its former self. The county is now one of the poorest in the state. And I resent the hell out of it.
Look, I am a smoker. I have been since pre-school age. I am now a few months shy of my 70th birthday and I am still smoking.
I smoked cigarettes, a pipe, and cigars, and I carried a plug of chewing tobacco in my hunting vest when I was in the swamps or fields hunting. I never liked to smoke in the forests and swamps for fear of accidentally starting a fire. So rather than smoke, I would chew tobacco.
Today I only smoke cigars and a pipe.
I like tobacco. I always have. I intend to smoke, because I enjoy it, until my life is up on this plain on existence.
Love of tobacco sort of runs in my family. My maternal grandfather used tobacco products all is life. He only lived to be 96 years old. My paternal grandfather did the same thing but he was not as fortunate for the Lord called him home at the relatively young age of 93. (One of my most prized possessions is his pipe.) My father was a cigarette and pipe smoker until he expired at the age of only 89.
My aunts died in their 80’s and 90’s and they were smokers, too.
One of my greatest joys in life is to “PO” a non-smoker who might dare to look exasperated when I light up my pipe.
See, I don’t give a rat’s rear-end whether you favor or disfavor smoking. I really, really, could not care less. It is a personal choice I made many decades ago, and I like it, and I make absolutely no apologies for it.
That said -- it irritates me no end that the government, which derives tons of cash off taxes from the sale of tobacco products, has the audacity to pressure me -- and all smoking Americans -- to quit. It is none of the government’s business what I choose to do with a legal product.
When they finally make the sale of tobacco products illegal, I intend to grow my own, shred it, and continue to smoke ‘til my dying day.
As to those god-awful pictures they are proposing placing on cigarette packs, I suppose we will have to bring back the old plastic and metal cigarette cases, within which, one could slide a complete pack of cigarettes hiding the logo and the government’s scare art. Cigarette smokers may continue to smoke without looking at those disgusting government propaganda posters splashed across the packages.
Another thing that really, and I mean R E A L L Y ticks me off about the “holier than thou” anti-smoker crowd is they totally ignore the dangers posed by the use of alcohol, which is indisputably far more dangerous to a consumer’s health than a cigarette, cigar, or pipe. How about some pictures of an auto crash with dead bodies lying all about the pavement alongside empty beer and whiskey bottles. No, that is not going to happen because the authorities, the “Health Police,” and so darned hypocritical and, most likely, many are consumers of alcohol products, themselves. Being the elitist snobs they are, they are going after only those who offend them -- and drunks obviously do not offend them. I wonder how many of those elitists “Health Police” have DUI tickets they’d rather we not know about? Huh?
This is simply another case of our elitist government flexing its muscle and demonstrating its power over we “peons” by intervening in the lives of the private American citizen.
This is also another reminder that America is no longer a free country. We have a lot of rogue government agencies in Washington with the power to pass rules and regulations, which have the power of law. That, absolutely, must be brought to a screech halt.
In my opinion, there is no need for the majority of those interventionist agencies and the new US House of Representatives, where all spending bills must originate, ought to begin defunding those agencies and starving them out of existence just as soon as they are sworn into office.
Ronald Reagan once said: “Government is not the answer to our problems. Government IS THE PROBLEM.” Some of the agencies, I’d personally like to see disbanded and done away with include: the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, and all of Obama’s Czars and Czarinas. And that just scratches the surface for the list of agencies that serve only to harass the American public and American business. It is a very long list, indeed.
The government is too big, too intrusive, too powerful, and too full of itself. It needs to be brought to heel, which is where an American representative republic belongs in the first place.
The “Health Police” have crossed the line with their gruesome scare tactics on packs of cigarettes and I sincerely hope, when their budget comes up for review soon, it will be cut to near zero in order to bring some control and humility to their agency and remind them who they work for. They, apparently, have it backwards.
Oh, I am happily puffing on my pipe as I write this piece. If you don’t like it, may we suggest – well -- you know what you can do with your objection.
J. D. Longstreet