The second New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg's plan to ban large sodas was announced, you knew that people would use it to declare that America has become a Commu-fascist labor prison. The Atlantic called it classist. Comedy Central's political blog (they have one!) called it ridiculous. Forbes called Bloomberg a Republican Socialist. And Bernie Goldberg basically declared that the ban was a gateway law that will one day lead to the government stealing your kids in the middle of the night and harvest their organs to give to illegal immigrants.
To which I'd just like to counter: People, please, shut the fuck up.
If you think that a ban on large sodas is somehow an affront to America freedom, I have news for you: You don't live in a free country. You never have and you never will. That's an illusion. You are not free to murder people in America. You are not free to stand in the middle of an intersection and block traffic like an asshole. You do not have the absolute freedom to do anything you want in America, and that's a good thing, because living somewhere with absolute freedom means you live in fucking Deadwood. There are a million different laws and rules that come with being an American, and we, as a collective, put all those annoying rules in there of our own accord. Democracy doesn't mean "Hey you, go do whatever the fuck you want." It means that you get to choose the people that represent you in government, and hope that they create and enforce the laws that help us function as a civilized society.
And that's exactly what happened here. New York city residents were already fully aware that Bloomberg was prone to implementing drastic public health measures, like the 2003 ban on smoking in bars. And yet, they re-elected him. In other words, New Yorkers were FREE to vote for the man who installed laws that they apparently considered both sane and reasonable. That's how democracy works. Democracy is not OH MY GOD THESE LAWS WILL MAKE US PUSSIES! Democracy is people working together to sort out just what the rules of society should be. Obviously, this process is labored and often hilariously corrupt, but that's what living in a "free country" is supposed to mean. It doesn't mean that you get to grab a gun and storm City Hall just because you think a soda ban is some kind of sign of the End Times. It's fucking soda. Don't be such a pussy that you can't live without a 42 oz. cup of the shit. If you're the type to flip out just because you can't have that, then who's the real pussy?
Now, you can certainly debate the effectiveness of this law all you like. You can still get free refills. You can still buy multiple drinks. You can still buy big things of juice, which is just as bad for you as soda. But there are two important things you should know. First off, I can tell you anecdotally that sometimes, this kind of law works on people. Posting calorie counts on a menu really does make you think twice about ordering a tuna melt (it's also fun to figure out which item has the most calories and then express shock when it turns out to be something innocuous like a salmon salad). To that end, perhaps getting rid of extremely large sodas will result in people getting small drinks and then being too cheap or too lazy to buy a second. It's probably worth a shot, because my second point is this...
SODA IS SHIT. It's absolute shit. I love Coke more than anything, but I know full well that it's poison. It destroys your teeth. It increases your appetite. It turns children in evil rage Gremlins. It offers nothing in the way of nutritional value. I have a cousin who used to work for UPS and whenever they had to clean the inside of the UPS truck, they doused the inside with Coke because it acted as a corrosive agent. That's how fucking horrible soda is for you. It has no business being sold in public schools. Any soda lobbyist telling you about the benefits of drinking their product is a liar and a fucking scumbag. We all know it's bad for us, and yet we continue drinking it (take it from someone who is currently unable to stop drinking Coke Zero).
So maybe it's not such a bad thing if a city official, who was freely ELECTED by his own constituents, tries his best to curb its influence. It doesn't make this country a member of the Warsaw Pact if that happens. And if you want to go crying about a NANNY STATE or whatever other dipshit talking point Politico fed you, go right ahead. Sometimes, voters like being nannied. In this country, you are FREE to vote for a little nannying if you like. Now go buy a cold can of Dr. Pepper and jam it up your butt.
Image by Jim Cooke.