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Shaken, not stirred

Community Columnist

Hot on the heels of that festive holiday of discovery and ethnic purging known as Columbus Day, I can’t help but think of how national celebrations have deteriorated into insignificant acts of thoughtless routine.

Maybe it’s time to shake things up.

It irks me that Columbus Day is still a holiday while Presidential Election Day is not. Instead of cultivating an environment of civic duty and forward-moving national pride, we are continually mired in the antiquated obsessions of schoolhouse fables.

Election Day could be spent gathering government information, examining public policy and immigration issues, conducting polls, spotlighting local government officials, giving blood and, of course, increasing the effort toward voter turnout. Compare that to the Columbus Day revelry of storewide 40 percent discounts at the mall.

I believe the obsessions with antiquity are what hold this country back from its true potential, to say nothing of the damage done to our unborn progeny. The unwavering adherence to ancient beliefs and writings are stunting the momentum of progress.

Gone should be the times of individual state rule and laws. The Civil War is over and shall not be repeated. The fact that different states handle social issues such as sexuality, prostitution, drug and alcohol consumption, gambling and gun control is ludicrous.

Enterprising dealers with cab fare can buy guns in Indiana and deliver them to criminals in Chicago. Legal American Hispanics can be forcibly detained in Arizona for driving by a patrolman while somehow rubbing him the wrong way. In Fargo, N.D., you can be jailed for wearing a hat while dancing, or even for wearing a hat to a function where dancing is taking place. In Vermont, women must obtain written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth. In Logan, Utah, women may not swear.

How can we as a people comment on women’s rights around the world when we don’t even see eye-to-eye from state to state? How can we condemn the Koran when we have so many versions of the Bible? How can we ridicule sandals, robes and veils when we market 10-gallon hats, moccasins, cummerbunds, Ku Klux Klan hoods and AK-47 assault rifle holsters?

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