Before I read this story I thought that the US as a nation, and California as a state, could not go off the rails any further than they already were, but I see now I was wrong:
SACRAMENTO, CA — The state Assembly has passed a resolution that would establish the first week of March as “Cuss Free Week” throughout the state.
The measure was approved on a voice vote Thursday and will be considered by the state Senate next week.
It was inspired by McKay Hatch, 16, a South Pasadena teenager who started a No Cussing Club and Web site at his middle school in 2007.
His movement has led to similar clubs in every state and 20 countries.
Hatch traveled to Sacramento with his family to support the resolution. He sees a link between foul-mouthed incivility and other forms of problem behavior, such as drug use and bullying.
“Your words become your actions, your actions become your behavior, your behavior becomes your character and your character becomes destiny: you are what you speak,” said Hatch during Thursday morning’s announcement.
Hatch said he hopes legislatures in other states adopt similar resolutions, citing a letter a middle school teacher in Louisiana wrote him.
“They found that after implementing a no-cussing club chapter, they had a 64 percent decrease in profanity and a 90 percent decrease in bullying,” he said. “This just proves to me what I already knew inside, and what I think we all know inside, our words are connected to our actions and have an effect on other people.”
Hatch also said his crusade to end cussing hasn’t been easy. He launched the campaign at his middle school and soon found cruel classmates, even death threats to his family.
On one day in January of 2009, Hatch received 60,000 e-mails.
“It was a bunch of death threats of people trying to stop what I was doing. We actually had a couple of bomb threats on our house,” Hatch said. “But I realize they’re bullies and I’m not going to let the bullies win, so I’ve had a lot of backlash, but I’ve also had a lot of support.”
One lawmaker, however, did question the timing of the resolution. Assem. Chris Morby, R-Fullerton, wanted to know how lawmakers could be considering it when California is in the midst of a budget crisis.
“We recognize that we have a lot of tough issues facing California, but having the opportunity to recognize someone from our state who has made an impact is certainly something we should do here in the legislature,” Assem. Cameron Smythe, R-Santa Clarita, said.
Smythe sponsored the resolution, along with Assem. Anthony Pontantino, D-La Canada Flintridge.
“Cuss-free week,” if approved by the Senate, will begin next week. Californians are encouraged to make “cuss-jars” using labels found on McKay’s Web site. If you use profanity, you should deposit cash or coins into the jar.
McKay said at the end of the week money collected should be donated to charities.
I mean, hey if the kid and others want to start a non-swearing club, that is their right and that is fine with me. But sending it to the California state government, having this idea of “cuss free week” become a resolution that is now going to be voted on in the State Senate is all kinds of ridiculous to me. I am sorry that he got bullied and received death threats–that is not cool and the people who made those threats should be ashamed of themselves–but the fact of the matter is people have a right to cuss if they want to. Just like this 16 year old has the right not to cuss, and to try to encourage others not to, but to make it an official resolution/law? That is crazy, and comes dangerously close to infringing on First Amendment rights. The government cannot tell us what to say, or rather what not to say (unless it’s on television or the radio, and even in those media I think they should fuck off), but if this resolution becomes law, that will be what is happening.
Granted, I do not actually believe that it will pass the California state senate, but it was made a resolution so I suppose anything is possible. Whether or not the resolution becomes law is not really the point. The point is that a state government is seriously considering something like this. It is taking the time and the effort to decide whether or not this will become law. It is using valuable resources (monetary and time) on a trivial matter thought up by some Moral Code Crusading 16 year old because he makes the leap in logic that swearing leads to bullying and drug abuse. This is almost as ridiculous as saying drinking coffee in the morning leads to violent behavior in the afternoon and the consumption of alcohol in the evening.
I am dumbfounded that something like this could even be considered as a law, and I have to wonder how they would enforce a “cuss free week.” I mean, I know Big Brother is listening, so I suppose it is possible that recording devices will catch people swearing, notify the Department of Clean Language, which will then send the offender a ticket, working in much the same way as traffic light cameras that issue tickets to people who run red lights. Or maybe they will send the police to your home to issue a citation for your potty mouth, oh and also to check and see if you have any drugs in the house because you were swearing so that must mean that you are shooting or smoking the dope. And now with this, they don’t even need a warrant, or probable cause, to come into your home; they just need to be suspicious, and isn’t swearing a suspicious activity?
Seriously, how are they going to enforce a law like this (if it does indeed become a law, which I do not think it will)? The fact is that they cannot. It will be virtually impossible to enforce something like this, even with illegal wiretaps and hidden audio/visual recording equipment all over the place. The question then becomes: why pass a law that you cannot enforce? Well, the answer to that question is simple: there is no reason to pass a law that you cannot enforce. It would simply be a waste of time and resources that could be better spent on something worthwhile, like looking for a solution to California’s budget crisis, or the upcoming water crisis, or any number of other important issues. But no, instead we have lawmakers focused on an idea that has nothing to do with governing, and everything to do with censorship.