Sacramento Contradictions: Poop Patrol, Plastic Straws and the Constitution

The United States of America is known to foreigners as the “Land of the Free.” The Founding Fathers of the United States stopped at nothing to make sure they gained their independence, and formed a new country with a government that allows people to exercise their natural rights without government interference. The Founding Fathers got many of these ideas from philosophers who were trying to pave the way for generations to come. This group of extraordinary men pulled bits and pieces from an eclectic group of classical philosophers.

From John Locke, they learned that “Life, Liberty and Property” were natural rights that could not be taken away by any government. From Montesquieu, they learned that the best form of government was a balanced one, separated power centers that could check each other from becoming too powerful – because a powerful government is how tyranny begins.

And finally, from Plato, they learned that direct democracy will lead to the tyranny of mob rule. The main purpose of the government of the United States, as the founding fathers knew it, was to protect people’s natural rights – individuals being free to do whatever they want to do as long as it does not impede on the natural rights of others.

232 years have passed since the ratification of the United States Constitution in that hot, muggy room in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787. Unfortunately it seems as if the natural rights enumerated by our Founding Fathers are slipping away. This is obvious in the more populated states, such as New York and California. The purpose of the United States government is to allow individuals to engage in mutually consensual transactions – but liberals in state legislatures are busy erasing that freedom.

In California, this fundamental right is eroded by much of the legislation that gets signed on our Governor. Business owners and consumers feel the effects of these actions the most. One example is the infamous “plastic straw ban,” which prohibits business owners from providing plastic straws to their customers without the customer’s request. Sacramento liberals can’t solve the problems of rampant homelessness, feces on every street corner, and heroin stained syringes on the sidewalks that children play on, but they have time to worry about plastic straws.

Sarcasm and snark aside, Sacramento politicians have done absolutely nothing to solve real issues that matter to real people while they cater to left wing pressure groups. As of 2018, according to the United States Interagency on Homelessness, almost 130,000 homeless people lived on the streets in California. Of those 130,000 individuals, almost 11,000 are veterans. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, California has the highest rate of homelessness in the country.

In San Francisco, the Mayor developed a “poop patrol” – a group of individuals who, get paid $184,000 a year in salary and benefits to clean poop of the sidewalks. Your tax dollars at work! Since politicians have limited  police officers’ ability to deal with homeless individuals in an effective manner, law enforcement has responded – reasonably enough – by giving up on trying to solve the problem. In the city of Sacramento, you can be fined upwards of $500 if you don’t clean up after your dog. On the other hand, you can poop in front of an elementary school, and nothing will happen to you. This is what passes for logic with liberal legislators.

California is the national petri dish for over the top, uber-progressive policies, with no thought given to real-world consequences. If an individual invests money and opens a business, it is their natural right and freedom of choice as to whether or not they will serve a plastic straw. It is not the government’s job to tell an individual what they can or cannot do in the business that they own.

Even some “ban the straw” advocates admit that its effect on pollution will be negligible. Banning plastic straws does virtually nothing to help the environment. According to a report by Science Mag titled “Plastic Waste Inputs From Land Into The Ocean,” the United States is responsible for only 0.9% of all plastic waste in the ocean. Of that 0.9%, a whopping .004% is plastic straws. In essence, the plastic straws in the ocean that the United States is responsible for is less than .01%.

Banning plastic straws is not about the environment. It is about the liberal addiction to expanding government power into every nook and cranny of our lives. It is about controlling the lives of Americans on every issue in every way. And they don’t care how high these actions raise costs for hard working consumers. 

The ban of plastic straws is not only useless, an act of political onanism, but more importantly one more liberal assault on the fundamental freedoms the Founding Fathers envisioned for all of us.  A sad commentary as we commemorate what is often called the greatest document ever written – the United States Constitution.

David Ter-Petrosyan is a student at Glendale Community College studying Economic Philosophy. He is a delegate to the California Republican Party.