The Mama I Don’t Need

I have one perfectly good mother. No, check that; I have one absolutely fantastic mom, no doubt about it. I have been tremendously blessed in this regard. She, along with an equally superb dad, raised me right, teaching me right from wrong and providing a consistent example of the difference between the two. I always made wise decisions when I acted on my mother’s advice–and frankly, that generally still holds true.

Truth is that everybody is born with the exact number of mothers that the Lord intended, which is precisely one. Oh, sure, some folks aren’t privileged, for one reason or another, to ever come to know their true mothers, but there is exactly one person who has borne the awesome privilege of childbirth in each individual’s life, and that is “mother”. I know, I know, the politically-correct crowd might try to teach us that, in the case of lesbian couples, “Heather Has Two Mommies”, but sorry, that just doesn’t fly. One mom is just exactly the perfect number.

Which brings me to my gripe-du-jour, and that is this: I’m past the point of being a little tired that a total stranger, who I am quite unconvinced is truly looking out for my welfare, is continually presenting itself as a would-be usurper of the title reserved for one Margaret Harvey. This total stranger seems intent upon not only giving me advice on how to live my life, as all good moms do, but upon punishing me when I don’t carry out my affairs in the manner prescribed by its all-knowing wisdom. That pretender to the title of “Mom” is none other than the entity we refer to as “government”. When government tries to take upon itself the role that God designed to be played by one lady alone, it becomes the Mama I don’t need.

I’m not quite sure what has set me off most recently, but let me lay out just a few cases in point and get you to thinking.

• I wear a seat-belt every time I get in the car–or at least most every time. Know why? Because it is a smart thing to do! I believe seat belts save lives. But Mama Government has decreed that I can be fined if I don’t apply said seat belt to my carcass. Question: if I don’t want to wear a seat belt–and if I’m willing to risk my particular life and my own personal limb by not doing so–what business is it of the state of Pennsylvania? Unless, of course, the state sees itself as “Mama”.

• I’ve recently been rolling around in my mind the radical idea of picking up a motorcycle and learning to ride the thing (and Mom, if you’re reading this, go ahead right now and get your blood pressure medication). There are certainly worse ways to face mid-life, I s’pose. Now, were I to venture onto one of those things, I’d not even think about riding without a helmet. But here’s the question: if I don’t choose to wear a helmet, what makes the state of Pennsylvania think that it has the prerogative to force me to wear one? Unless, of course, the state sees itself as “Mama”.

• I can’t stand the smell of cigarette smoke. Of all the vices I’ve been tempted by, smoking a cigarette has never made the list. The very idea repulses me. When I go into a restaurant, I always ask to be seated in the non-smoking section; I’ll wait until a booth opens even if I wait longer than if I were willing to take “first available”. Many people like the idea of the state saddling restaurant owners with the requirement that there be a non-smoking section; in some states, the People’s Republic of California being one that leaps to mind, restaurants and bars are prohibited from allowing smoking at all. Question: aren’t people free to weigh the pros-and-cons of a smoke-filled environment, and then decide whether or not to patronize an establishment? Why must the government feel that it has the duty to legislate to restaurant owners on this issue? Unless, of course, the state sees itself as “Mama”.

• And while we’re opening this can of worms, let’s open it all the way. Why does the government insist upon seizing a regular portion of our hard-earned assets, pirating it away for decades, and then, upon our retirement, parcelling it back to us in increments of its own choosing–all without our personal consent? Perhaps a better question is why we Americans are so ga-ga over the whole idea! If I walked up to you on the street with the exact same proposition our government makes, forcing you at gunpoint into this arrangement, you’d rightly call me a “thief”. Yet, when we label it “Social Security” and allow the government to do it, most people think it is a good thing. Why does the government think I am too stupid to have take care of myself in my old age? Why do we stand for this type of scam? Unless, of course, we have bought into the notion that the state is “Mama”!

Libertarians among us could undoubtedly go much further to illustrate the ways in which our various governments treat us as though we are ignorant children, but I’ll stop here by simply raising the question: why do we put up with a government, yea even sometimes egg it on, which sees us as children in need of a mother?

Government has a role to play in our lives; the Constitution does a pretty good job of defining that role. But in contemporary society, we’ve bought into the idea that governments are supposed to mother us. Sorry, but government is one Mama I just don’t need, thank you.

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