HICKS COLUMN: Smoke gets in their eyes?
Some of these folks who whine about the federal government intruding in their lives need to take a long look in the mirror.
Because they sure have no problem meddling in other people's business.
North Charleston is now considering a smoking ban like Charleston and Mount P. Just a few years ago, the city shot down a similar plan, and came out of it looking like the voice of reason and protector of personal freedom. Which can be rare around here.
In fact, North Charleston is sort of an inland Folly Beach, a libertarian paradise. When is the last time you were hassled for tailgating at the Coliseum? You weren't.
So why are they looking at smoking again? Well, because the forces of political correctness won't rest until they push their will on everyone.
These folks say smoking is bad for you. No argument there. Riding a bike in traffic can be pretty bad for your health too, but they aren't trying to ban that.
North Charleston should just butt out on this one.
It's about rights
Ed Astle knows what smoking can do.
The North Charleston city councilman smoked for 21 years. He quit in one night.
Both his in-laws died of lung cancer, and Astle figures his wife was exposed to secondhand smoke for 30 years.
“From a health point of a view, I'm totally against smoking,” Astle says. “But what we have here is the government telling people what they can and can't do on their private property where the public is invited in.”
Yes, that is exactly the issue.
The fact is, a lot of businesses already ban smoking because it hurts their business. Other places, like The Mill or Madra Rua, allow smoking — and it helps their business.
In fact, they've picked up a lot of customers from Charleston and Mount Pleasant who want a beer and a cigarette without Big Brother watching.
Of course, if North Charleston bans smoking, those folks can be discriminated against closer to home. And they probably will not come back.
Club Habana should be thankful it didn't take North Chuck up on the invitation to move there earlier this year.
Then they could have been shut down in two different cities.
Ban Hooters girls?
You realize this is only the beginning.
There are far too many busybodies with much too little to do. Astle wonders what's next. Ban trans fats and big-gulp cups like New York City? How about running off Hooters, since it objectifies women?
It's simple: You don't like smoke? Skip Madra Rua. Go somewhere else.
Astle suggested the city pass a resolution that says smoking is vile and evil, and encourage businesses to ban it. Make it voluntary, as it should be.
Good idea. Too bad the forces of political correctness don't believe in personal choice. They see North Charleston as the largest city in the state without a ban, and they want to sanitize it.
One of the more charming traits of North Chuck is that it always does its own thing. This should be no different. Council ought to ignore the PC crowd and adopt a new town motto: Let those who dine, decide.
Reach Brian Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org.