Happy New Year, darlings! I hope you all had a lovely and safe celebration and your loins are girded for the fiscal, political and social crap storm that will be calendar year 2009. After all, it was Paul McCartney who cheerfully sang, “I have to believe it’s getting better,” but it was John Lennon who really nailed my thoughts when he sang, “it can’t get much worse.”
I’m not ashamed to say loudly and cathartically that last year truly sucked. Between breaking my elbow, wrist and ankle in the span of 12 months, the implosion of the economy, the election of Jason Chaffetz and the NBC’s series Heroes going to hell, I for one am really ready for a fresh start.
Speaking of celebrations and New Year revelry, muffins, maybe now is a good time to talk a little about drinking and driving. They say only Nixon could have gone to China, and so it is that I, Ruby Ridge, the “Matriarch of Moderation” if you will, can rightfully rag on Mothers Against Drunk Driving and their over the top neo-prohibitionist ways.
Rest assured, kittens, I deplore drunk driving and all of the senseless casualties, deaths and ills that it creates. But as someone who lives a virtuous, temperate life free from the evils of the demon drink, I am uniquely qualified to say that the folks at MADD have lost their minds and fallen off their prohibitionist bar stools. Cherubs, these anti-drinking zealots are simply going too far!
Take the private club membership fee, for example. Chances are this issue will come up in front of the legislature this year, as the Governor wants to liberalize some of Utah’s Byzantine liquor laws, and the Legislature is just aching for an excuse to bitch slap him around a bit. Already MADD and the neoprohibitionists are frothing at the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control hearings, saying that abolishing private club fees will increase the amount of drunk driving, that driving fatalities will increase exponentially, plagues of locusts and frogs will fall from the sky, and why, oh why Lord, doesn’t somebody think about the CHILDREN?!?
Their shrill, manipulative arguments make no sense. They unfairly malign the majority of responsible drinkers and bar owners, and then actually work against public safety by encouraging unregulated and excessive drinking at home. They also compound the problem by turning the door staff of clubs and bars into receptionists, instead of safety enforcers who protect minors and the community from drunk drivers.
If bar owners did not have to commit costly resources to explain membership rules to visitors, then do the filling out, carding, screening, change-making and maintaining of those memberships, they would have more time to check IDs to stop underage drinking. Better, they’d also have more sets of eyes to ensure patrons don’t drive when impaired. That’s not just a good thing, it’s a great thing. And the responsible bar owners I know would be all for it!
But it seems that MADD and Utah’s perennial anti-alcohol activists like Dr. George Van Komen have decided that ALL drinking should be prohibited, and sadly, their inflated and emotive arguments are finding a receptive ear in teetotaling DABC Commissioner, Kathryn Balmforth. The problem to me is that MADD started out with a noble idea, but over time the organization has morphed from concerned family members deterring drunk driving to an all-out single issue political pressure group dedicated to a prohibition on alcohol. Pull up their Web site, pumpkins, and look at their national legislative agenda. You will be horrified at how intrusive and extreme it really is.
I wish the activists at MADD would concern themselves with distracted driving, which I guarantee is causing just as many accidents and fatalities as drunk driving. You know, the people driving while talking on cell phones, texting, eating, playing with kids in the back seat, that sort of thing. If that was their goal, I would be the first person in line to slap a MADD bumper sticker on my car and wig cases.
So I would ask you petals, please make a resolution to drink and drive safely this year, because I for one would miss our little chats.