of the drawbacks to having a column published from sea to
shining sea each week is depending on the news of the day
to spur my creative juices. Some weeks are so devoid of
newsworthy items that it is like having a tooth yanked trying
to squeeze out 600 to 700 words on any topic of interest,
even to me. Other weeks are so chocked full of news stories
that make the blood boil that it is nearly impossible to
choose just one on which to opine.
This last week was one of the latter. From
the overreaching decisions handed down by our schizophrenic
Supreme Court to the release of the sizzling, destined-to-be-bestseller,
“Treason,” by take-no-prisoners author Ann Coulter,
the last week of June 2003 was a week in which a column
a day could have been generated.
But by week’s end, the story that caught
my attention and reminded me once more why the Founders
desired to see federal power severely limited when they
put together the brilliant yet simple language of the U.S.
Constitution, was the newly-created national “do-not-call”
I’m talking about the latest intrusion
into the business of business by the bureaucrats of the
federal government. Thanks to our great benefactors in Washington,
anyone can now place his or her name on this special list
in order to be protected from the big bad telemarketers
of the world. Once your number has been placed into this
gigantic database (which it seems Americans are submitting
to in droves, like lemmings leaping off a cliff), the evil
telemarketers can be fined thousands of dollars if they
ever call you again.
I live in the heart of the country, in
the Omaha, Nebraska, area. For at least the last twenty
years, Omaha has been the telemarketing capital of the world.
Thousands of people in this community earn their livelihood
from this perfectly legal activity. They work for organizations
like Omaha Steaks, which markets world-renowned, high quality
food products to a nationwide customer base. Other communities
across the country also are home to such companies.
Some who work for these firms are part-time
college students, earning a little extra money and, in some
cases, even receiving tuition benefits to help them further
their education. Some employees are between jobs or supplementing
their full-time income. Others are full-timers who earn
a good living for their families and are very content doing
this kind of legitimate work.
But an ugly attitude has surfaced in America,
and it has stigmatized telemarketing sales people to the
point that they are now held in lower esteem than lawyers
and used car salesmen. And Uncle Sam is furthering this
attitude by creating another government program to solve
a problem that already has a myriad of solutions, from Telezappers
to Caller I.D. to blocks on our telephones. A search of
the Internet will yield more choices than you can imagine
that don’t involve the federal government.
Yet, there was my president this past week,
trying to justify this silliness by telling us that “Americans
don’t want to have their dinner interrupted.” So, what you
are saying, Mr. President, is that your administration has
now created another new right – the right not to be annoyed.
Whatever happened to “just say no”? Personally, I would
rather be secure in my right not to be blown up by the terrorist
cells that are under our noses and whose members can come
and go freely across the thousands of miles of porous borders
you don’t seem willing to close, thank you very much. But
hey, that’s just me.
This ridiculous federal action places another
burden on legitimate businesses at a time when we need to
be encouraging the creation of new jobs, not finding ways
to destroy old ones. I am one American who will not be placing
my name on the do not call list. I’m on enough lists in
Doug Pattonis a freelance columnist
who has served as a political speechwriter and public policy
advisor at the federal, state and local levels. His weekly
columns can be read in newspapers across the country, and
on www.GOPUSA.com, where he serves as the Nebraska Editor.
He also writes for Talon News Service (www.TalonNews.com).