The second way is to make us afraid of something, and to claim that only the election of a certain candidate will prevent the destruction of our way of life. Sometimes the alleged menace is rightfully frightening (Nazis) and sometimes not actually so scary (hippies). The fear-mongering election strategy can be used over and over especially if employed against an alleged evil that will never go away, like smoking pot. It costs nothing to scare people, at least compared to what it costs to build bridges, so taxes stay low and we stay happy, if being afraid to let your kids play outside can be called happy.
The third way for politicians to convince the voters that they are not just a bunch of tired old leeches gnawing away at the capillaries of society with their perfect, capped and polished teeth is for them to ban things. There are always things that people want banned, which means laws can be passed against them. Passing laws is one of the few things politicians actually are expected to do. A politician who told the voters "I figured we already had enough laws, so I spent my last term of office learning how to fly-fish," would be rejected overwhelmingly in the next election, though not by this voter.
I'd vote for that guy as many times as I could figure out how.
Now, though, all the obvious stuff has been banned. Politicians are reaching. I came to this conclusion as I tried to check a weekend's worth of beer and liquor through the automated check stand at my local supermarket and was told I couldn't. A new state law means that all alcohol purchases have to be made through a human cashier, so I had to wait with my cart full of shame behind an elderly woman who took longer to write a check than it takes Charlie Sheen to remember where he left his pants on any given morning.
This inconvenience was foisted on my by the pols of California, who decided it was too easy for underage people to buy liquor through the automated check stand, although it wasn't easy at all. The machine always stopped when liquor was scanned and an attendant had to hit a button, which in my case she usually did after a glance at the back of my head. I'm sure if I had presented a more underage appearance, I would have been ID'ed.
I'm not as inconvenienced as the residents of Shreveport, Louisiana, however, who are fighting to keep their right to wear pajamas in public. Michael Williams, one of the local burghers, proposed the ban, after seeing some Shreveport dudes wearing pajamas outside "with their private parts about to come out."
First off, define "about to come out." Whether it's in or out should be abundantly clear. Secondly, define "pajamas." At what point on the continuum of soft, comfortable outerwear can a garment be definitely said to be pajamas, as opposed to snuggies, sweats or scrubs? Thirdly, what is wrong with the men of Shreveport? Wearing pajamas outside is for girls, not guys.
The most outstanding new ban comes from the Los Angles City Council, which has banned the production of pornography in which the actors are not wearing condoms. Yes, condoms are now required in porn manufactured in LA, where they say 90% of the porn made in the US is produced. The council is debating methods of enforcing the ban, but the formation of police units nicknamed the Condom Cops, the Rubber Rangers or the Trojan Task Force seems inevitable.
The cops will have to go undercover. I say this because it is obvious, not because I enjoy making terrible puns. Police men and women will have to pose as porn performers. ("Okay, Detective, your alias for this sting operation will be Larry Load.") Can a hit TV series based on their exploits be far behind? The Rockhard Files? Magnum--My Size? All right, I'm stopping here.
The Council's bold step flies in the face of history, where condom bans have been far more frequent than condom coddling. Just a few years ago, the state of Georgia voted, possibly inadvertently, to ban ribbed condoms, although to my knowledge no French Tickler Strike Force was ever organized. And you can just click here, if you want to sign an e-petition to restrict condom sales to married couples with a prescription from their doctor.
In a blow for freedom, one of the world's oldest (all right, the oldest) anti-condom organizations has reversed its position on rubbers. The Pope announced that the Church would no longer consider the use of condoms a sin, as long as they were used to prevent the spread of AIDS and not as a contraceptive device.
Thus, a big day for any porn stars in LA who are also devout Catholics. About time those people caught a break.