Progressive Party-Poopers at It Again — Lord, Give Me Strength - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Progressive Party-Poopers at It Again — Lord, Give Me Strength
Dog on a road trip (Jaromir Chalabala/

Here’s a challenge for red-blooded and freedom-loving Americanos. Name three of life’s simple but real pleasures that progressives aren’t working to stamp out.

OK, name one.

The uber-nannies are at their villainous work again, proving, as if further proof were needed, that there is nothing — NOTHING! — that Democrats don’t yearn to micro-manage. Your life is their ball of clay, which they wish to mold in toto. Are they now coming for our dogs?

The latest attempted assault on the very concept of personal freedom and happiness comes from Florida State Senator Lauren Book, a Democrat (natch) representing liberal Broward County (Ft. Lauderdale–Hollywood). Her proposed bill — be seated for this — would prohibit dogs from hanging their heads out of the window of moving cars. A delight that our pooches have enjoyed since there have been car windows for dogs to hang their heads out of.

Book’s “animal welfare” bill also calls for dogs to be restrained in cars just as human passengers are.

Anyone who doesn’t believe that dogs can smile need only observe a pooch, ears back and mouth open, happily lapping up the air at 45 miles per hour from the passenger side of the family Flivver. It’s a sight to gladden all but the coldest hearts. To wish to spike this activity, which has brought joy to millions of dogs and their owners over the last century, one would have to have the disposition of Cruella de Vil.

To be fair, I don’t believe the young (38) and comely Book is another Cruella. She has three rambunctious looking dogs of her own, who she concedes “love to stick their heads out the window.” I’m sure she loves her dogs as well. So why prohibit them from doing something they so obviously enjoy? Why engage in what strikes reasonable people as an extreme example of party-poopery?

The reason her office gives is the one that micro-managers and toxic busybodies always give for wanting to restrict and regulate the hell out of our lives, i.e., some injuries have occurred in the course of this enjoyable activity. Book’s communications director, Jossie Barroso, tells me that some vets have told Book that some dogs have been struck by flying objects and injured while celebrating the onrushing air and life’s glorious possibilities. I don’t doubt this has happened, but I’m sure the instances of this are very rare. And I’m sure that any dog who’s ever lifted a leg or sniffed a backside is quite prepared to run this risk in order to continue enjoying an activity that has been the highlight of many a doggy day.

Along with some other less debatable provisions, Book’s “animal welfare” bill also calls for dogs to be restrained in cars just as human passengers are, on the theory that a loose dog in the car can be a distraction for the driver. I suppose it could be, though the same can be said of two quarreling children in the back seat, a nagging spouse, a too loud radio, snacking while driving, and that distraction of all distractions, the phone. Book has not come after these. Yet. And what of the distraction caused by a lively dog, trussed up like a picnic ham, trying to squirm his way out of the progressive-mandated straight jacket to get to the window?

I’ve probably driven a couple of thousand miles with a loose dog in my car and never lost concentration, even when my doggie passenger lapped so much air that it worked its way through the entire system with the result that, well, I’ll let you fill in the rest.

Reasonable people know there is risk associated with almost any activity. And historically Americans have been allowed to assess most risks for themselves. (Alas, this is changing fast.) There’s a limit to how many of life’s pleasures we’re willing to forgo in the futile pursuit of zero risk. Book and the Miss Grundy vets who set her on this foolish quest have not come close to justifying closing the book on this low risk, high enjoyment activity. Other provisions of Book’s bill might get a hearing in the heavily Republican Florida legislature. But there’s only one thing to do with this provision: bury it in the back yard.

The bill, and especially this provision of it, face rough legislative going. When I asked what prospects the bill has in a Florida Legislature that is almost two to one Republican, Barroso said, “I think you have your answer there.” There is probably no chance that Florida’s pooches will soon be under seat-belt arrest. I only bring the matter up to demonstrate how toxically controlling progressives can be. La Book is not an obscure backbencher looking for some headlines by introducing a crackpot bill. She’s the Senate minority leader. The voice of Florida’s Senate Democrats, a party that would soon be extinct in Tallahassee if Florida’s dogs could vote.

Larry Thornberry
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Larry Thornberry is a writer in Tampa.
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