Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
These are probably the most famous words in the American Declaration of Independence. I would consider them to be probably the most basic rights of any man on earth.
The Americans are always on about liberty, and make great play about how they are probably the freest society on the planet. I would argue that, especially since they introduced their Homeland Security thing, but that’s not what I’m on about today.
I was browsing yesterday when I read a piece in The Rest of the Story. Quite honestly I had to read it a couple of times before I could believe my eyes.
"To further our mission of building healthier communities, effective February, 1, 2010, Memorial Health Care System will no longer hire individuals who use tobacco or nicotine products in any form. Memorial Health Care System and its affiliates recognize the major importance of associates’ health and well being, and the responsibility of maintaining a healthy and safe environment for all associates, volunteers, patients and visitors. Therefore, all individuals who are offered a position with Memorial Health Care System or any of its affiliates, are screened for illegal drug, alcohol, and/or tobacco/nicotine use as part of the post-offer health screening. Individuals whose post-offer health screening results are verified positive for illegal drugs, alcohol, and/or tobacco/nicotine use, and/or whose reference and/or background checks are verified unsatisfactory, will be disqualified from employment, their job offer will be withdrawn, and they may be disqualified from applying for employment for six (6) months from the date of the post-offer health screening."
In the land of Freedom; the land of Liberty, an organisation is refusing to employ people who have contact with nicotine. Now, the anti-tobacco crowd will see nothing wrong with this and maybe even some of you rational people may see no problem here, but I would ask you to stop and think.
I suppose it is within the realms of logic that a company could refuse to employ smokers. There is a marginal argument that a company may not like their workers nipping outdoors for a fag break during working hours. I would contend that if a company were so concerned, that they should fight to have the indoor smoking ban removed.
However, when you examine this ‘mission statement’ above, you will find they are going do regular screening – presumably blood/urine tests? – and therefore a person who may smoke say two cigarettes a day over breakfast is ineligible for employment.
However, this is not the ultimate farce.
A person who may be trying to give up smoking, with the aid of nicotine patches or an inhaler cannot be employed.
This drive against smoking is reaching new depths of depravity. We are reaching a level where the mere mention of nicotine will be a crime. Irrespective of the fact that there is no scientific proof whatsoever that nicotine causes to anyone [with the possible exception of the smoker, but I would even dispute that] there is a drive to criminalise a sizeable portion of society. Not only that, but they are criminalising even those who are trying to quit smoking. Smokers are now not only being treated as second class citizens, with no rights, but are actually being deemed unemployable. Where is the liberty here? Where is the right to the pursuit of happiness here?
This doesn’t just concern smokers. This should concern every single right thinking person.
This is not about smoking. This is about how a group of fanatics whose cause is based on hearsay, prejudice and irrational fear can inveigle their way so deeply into society that their twisted thinking becomes the norm.
Do we want a world where one group can discriminate so outrageously against another?
Do we want a world where, on the unsubstantiated claims of one group can turn another group into second class citizens?
Today, it’s smokers. Tomorrow it will be drinkers, eaters, you name it.
Am I the only person who is terrified at the way the world is going?