I don't want people to die in car crashes or develop obesity related illnesses, really.
That being said, I'll draw a distinction between two types of people in America: those who believe we should be free to make choices that may have negative consequences and those who believe our government should force us to "be good."
With orchestral timing the state of Georgia has started their annual Click it or Ticket just as the documentary "Super Size Me" is being released in theaters. What can we learn from these seemingly unrelated events? Let's see.
In "Super Size Me," documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock eats nothing but McDonald's for 30 days. The movie chronicles changes to his body and mind after eating 90 straight meals from the Golden Arches. As you can imagine these changes weren't positive ones.
Spurlock was inspired by a court case in which two obese teenage girls tried to sue McDonald's for causing their weight problem. The case was eventually dismissed when the judge ruled that the girls hadn't shown McDonald's exclusive responsibility. That's where Spurlock comes in.
Although a clear case is made against the excessive consumption of fast food, at no point does the filmmaker suggest that legal steps should be taken to punish companies who sell unhealthy foods or people who consume them. During man-on-the-street interviews Spurlock talks to McDonald's customers who admit to knowing exactly what an unhealthy diet they are choosing, but concede that they eat fast food because they enjoy it.
Moving beyond poor old Ronald's woes, do you remember the Oreo fiasco last year? No one in their right mind supported suing Kraft over the trans fat content of their cookies. We as free Americans, with nutritional information in hand, were making a choice to eat an unhealthy desert, so don't you dare step in and tell us what we can and cannot eat.
Don't impose a "fat tax" on junk foods! That violates our rights and amounts to Big Government stepping on our toes. It would be just another way to tax us into submission and a bake sale for lagging state and federal budgets across the land. Let us eat cake! We are free!
Why then, is no one alarmed when police set up roadblocks to peer inside our cars and evaluate our personal safety?
"That's different! Anyone who doesn't wear their seatbelt is nuts. Seatbelts save lives."
Well, unhealthy foods take lives. Diabetes and obesity related deaths increase every year in America. Everyone knows junk food is bad for you. Why don't we make it illegal?
"Because you can't do that. Do you want police storming your home at dinner and reviewing the contents of your refrigerator?"
No, and no more do I want them blocking off an intersection and checking up on me there. No more do I want to see K-9 units sniffing for drugs as an added precaution during these stops. No more do I want tax money and ticket revenue funding this program that temporarily removes constitutional rights.
Seatbelt and helmet laws, aside from those that protect children, should outrage more people than they do. I wear my seatbelt every time I'm in a car. Every time. Why do I care, then?
Because I want a government that gives me the freedom to make good choices, not one that makes them for me. Now eat right and buckle up, it's the law!
Rob Felt is the photographer for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.