s skippy the bush kangaroo

skippy the bush kangaroo

Sunday, January 01, 2006

another stupid red state idea

tennessee hearts humiliating alcoholics

tennessee's new law, designed to publicly shame and humiliate drunk drivers, goes into effect today. dui offenders will be forced to publicly pick up trash in orange jumpsuits that say "i am a drunk driver" on the back. talkleft has the details.

why drunk drivers and not, say, politicians who accepted dirty money? or corporate executives with their hand in the till? it's about religion, and judgement, and stupid thinking that sounds reasonable if you only pay attention with half a brain.

"you cause them to go out and pick up trash in front of their friends and neighbors, the embarrassment is going to be such that they're never going to want to go through that again," said state rep. charles curtiss (d). "hopefully you can turn them around to never become a second-time offender."

no, you can't, dumbass. if i were publicly humiliated in front of my friends and neighbors, i'd want to go out and get rip-roaring drunk as soon as it was over - especially if i wasn't given any tools to manage my drinking problem in the meantime.

you don't have to buy the idea that alcoholism is a disease - although the medical community does - in order to know how ridiculous an idea this is. this ugly law all about judgment, and shaming, and self-righteousness. as one policeman says, "at the end of the weekend, we're going to have a person who has picked up a lot of litter but is still addicted to alcohol."

i believe in taking responsibility for your own actions, and making amends for the wrongs one has done while drinking, or drugging - or serving in the us government, for that matter. humiliation and loss of dignity don't have any part of that process. i'd like to see the entire bush cabinet in orange jumpsuits that read "i violated the constitution," i suppose, but that's not the best part of my spirit talking.

hank williams is possibly the most famous drunk in tennessee history. he once drew a pistol in a restaurant and shot up a painting of a battleship firing its guns. when the police came and asked him why he did it, he said "it drew on me first."

i doubt picking up trash in an orange jumpsuit would have saved luke the drifter (hank's religious alter ego) from his drug-and-alcohol death at 29. it won't save anybody else, either. it'll just make a lot of self-righteous jerks feel better than somebody else for a minute. that kind of thinking is straight out of the dark ages.

the 'holier-than-thou' rush may please some tennesseans, but when these unrecovered alcoholics drive drunk the next time, having been given no help to stop drinking, they may kill somebody.

what's next for tennessee lawmakers - "burn, witch, burn"?

posted by RJ Eskow at 2:02 PM |


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