The Washington Times published the following letter from me today in response to the asinine comment from last week:
Virginia GASP co-founder Anne Morrow Donley’s comparison of the House’s refusal to ban smoking to a willingness to allow slavery shows an astonishing lack of taste and perspective [“Effort to ban smoking rejected,” 2/15]. Working a second job as a bartender, I’ve often complained of late nights and demanding customers, but it’s never occurred to me to compare these annoyances to the plight of the millions of slaves who were held in captivity, torn from their families, and forced to labor under threat of the lash.
I find her statement personally insulting, too. Given the rapid rates of turnover in the hospitality industry and the variety of smokefree jobs it already offers, I don’t need the government to emancipate me from my masters. Bar and restaurant workers are capable of deciding for themselves whether to work in a smoky environment.
If Donley’s sincere goal is to protect workers from secondhand smoke, there are ways of accomplishing this that are far less coercive than a complete ban. Kudos to the Virginia House for blocking this latest assault on individual freedom.
Update 2/21/08: Link here.