Dec 14, 2009

Major battle won on the smokefree front, but the public health war continues

I have written 90 posts over three years on the workplace smoking ban, and now that the Legislature finally did the right thing and approved a partial ban on Thursday, I’m experiencing a slight case of withdrawal.

I got a pretty good fix this weekend, and I had to knock down some of the same, tired old arguments from the other side. I had a long running debate on Facebook with a former colleague at the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus. I was, frankly, quite surprised that he was against it, and the arguments he used. Again, so much for the myth of the “liberal media.”

His tired arguments mirrored the same arguments the Op-Ed page of the paper used to editorialize against it. But, over the weekend they ran a poll, and support in conservative Livingston County was more than 60 prevent for the workplace smoking ban. Like I have said time after time, this is a nonpartisan issue.

The Detroit News ran a CyberSurvey on the issue, and 49.3 percent say are pleased with the smoking ban that was passed, and just 36 percent said it was too restrictive. Another 14 percent said it did not go far enough. I don’t think it went far enough either, but I am more than satisfied, for now. Compromise is necessary to get things done in politics. Like President Obama recently said about the health care reform debate, “we shouldn't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

That means 64 percent who took the survey support a workplace smoking ban and 36 percent do not. That pretty much reflects how the entire state feels.

It was also interesting to read the rightwing blogs. Even though almost 70 percent of Michigan residents support the ban, not one right wing blog was for it, not one. If you need any more proof on how out of touch the Republican Party really is there it is. Plus, it was a bipartisan bill, and Republicans and Democrats were on both sides of the issue.

Here’s a little sample of the rightwing opinion:
“Nanny Statists Win”
“Here's a thought: why not let people make their own decisions?”

Here’s another one:
“I'm left scratching my head that people in my own party, the Party of Lincoln and Reagan, the Grand Ol' Party, are trumpeting about the smoking ban in Michigan along with Democrats who have ruined our state, giving a failed governor a Leftist victory in removing more freedoms from the citizenry.”
That’s a lot of lies in one run-on sentence.

Some are hard to follow, but here is one, as near as I can tell, on how a ban will hurt bar business. That myth, of course, has long been debunked:
“An after work beer and a smoke at a bar will not translate to an after work beer in the local watering hole alone. Bar patronage will decrease.”

Here’s another one:
“Arguments abound on the RINO designation with those who still support the Republicans that vote "progressive," saying "but you should concentrate on the 95% that you agree with them on.. “

The good news is I expect to continue to write about the workplace smoking ban. I think there was enough support in the House to pass a clean bill. The fight is not over. This is a huge victory; make no mistake about that, but that was the big battle, and we still have a smaller battle before we have won the war.

There is still a bill in the Senate, Senate Bill 114, that completely bans smoking, including casinos. This was a true grassroots effort, and we need to step up the pressure to pass this and protect all workers, no matter where they work. We still have a year left in the current legislative session. A great time to pass this would be during the lame duck session next December.

1 comment:

Johnny C said...

Michigan right wing blogs serve one good purpose. They tell us what the Michigan Republicans' talking points are for the day.