I had something totally different in mind as a subject for today’s post, but then I read this article and it made me laugh. It wasn’t one of those laughs you have when you hear a joke, rather it was one of those laughs you have when you see, hear, or read something that makes you say, “You HAVE to be joking.” It was a laugh in disgust.
Meet Justin Peterson, a 12 year old boy living in Chewelah Washington. I am sure he is like most 12 years old boys, who enjoys playing with his friends, playing whatever gaming console he has, and probably hates doing homework too; though that is solely speculation on my part and trying to relate how I was as a 12 years old waaaay back before I needed glasses, let alone the bifocals I was recently told I needed. There is one shinning contrast between Justin and other young men and women not just of his age group, but society at large. He, personally wants to make a difference for others, he wants to be an active member of not just his community, but for others living all over his and our country.
Mr. Peterson, and I believe he deserves all of the respect that the word “mister” commands, even though he is “only” 12 years old, wanted to raise money for the Honor Flight Network, which is a charitable organization that honors our military veterans by flying them to our nation’s capital so they can visit and reflect upon all of the memorials there (the Korean War Memorial is one of my favorites). Sounds fantastic doesn’t it? Not just the Honor Flight Network, but the fact that a young man of his age feels strongly enough about something other than himself that he is moved to action.
So, Mr. Peterson decided that he would hold a fundraiser for this charitable organization, he decided that he would sell the All American favorite, hamburgers, with the proceeds then going to the Honor Flight Network. This is where the feel good story turns. It wasn’t too long before the city health inspector showed up and “honored” Mr. Peterson with a $170 fine for not having a food permit. Huzzah! USA! USA! USA!
Geez Louise, are you kidding me?! Look, I know that the health inspector was just following the rules, and I am not saying that rules should be broken; instead I am asking how many rules do we need and when is enough? This isn’t the first time that government officials have crushed the entrepreneurial and charitable spirits of youngsters, let alone anyone else who has hit the no longer red tape, but the red brick wall of bureaucracy. I am sure most of us have heard of children’s lemonade stands being shut down for the exact same reason as Mr. Peterson’s fundraising burger sale. It is has gone past ridiculous, it has plowed through redonkulous, and has landed squarely in the territory of ludicrous.
To be fair to the city of Chewelah, the board members of that city’s Health Department have taken it upon themselves to pay Mr. Peterson’s fine for him, but still; if you aren’t shaking your head in even the most mild level of disgust then I suppose we should remove “land of the free” from our national anthem, and perhaps change the word “liberty” in our pledge of allegiance to “bureaucracy?” However, if you are disgusted in this, and other stories like it, then it is time to quit watching the shallow and IQ depleting “Real Housewives” television show and maybe be more like Mr. Peterson by taking an active role in your community and the country at large. To show that I am not all talk and bluster, I just registered for and donated to a charitable walk raising money to support homeless shelters in my home town, what is it that you are willing and can do? Just be forewarned though, in the current eyes of our government, no good deed goes unpunished.
Meh, screw it, I think the new season of “Jersey Shore” is starting soon, that is far more important isn’t it? (Yes, I am being sarcastic)
If you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree. (Jim Rohn)