Thursday, November 20, 2008

Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em

Michael Kinsley: Let The Guy Smoke.

It is still okay to discriminate against one group of Americans. This discrimination is not only legal, it is encouraged. You see members of this oppressed minority huddled outside in rain and snow, forbidden to seek refuge. No one feels sorry for them. And yet we may have just elected one of these pariahs as president.

Smoking is a disgusting habit that can kill you and those around you. Barack Obama claims to have quit, but the evidence is ambiguous[...] Obama has never denied that he was a smoker for much of his adult life. He said as early as February 2007 that he had promised his wife he would quit in order to run for president.

Another question is what effect a president desperate for a cigarette and trying to quit might have on your life expectancy and mine. Obama's steely calm is now one of our country's major assets. If he needs an occasional cigarette to preserve it, let's hand him an ashtray, offer him a light and look the other way.
Reminds me of the vaunted t.v. show "The West Wing" (whose Season 7, some have said, eerily predicted the 2008 race between Obama and McCain). If you recall the show, President Bartlett (Martin Sheen) would occasionally, during times of crisis, sneak outside the Oval Office onto the veranda and bum a smoke from a Secret Service agent.

More prescience from one of the best television dramas of the 2000's? It will be interesting to see how the anti-smoking zealots treat this issue, but given the economic times today, we may all be smoking before long.

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