Starting today I'm going to start tossing it out and stirring it up. Yes, Thursday postings will be intended to start controversy, stimulate debate, and pose posers. I want to make you think and get your opinions. I'll come up with an issue or something I just happen to be thinking of or even something one of you may suggest and I'll toss it out there so you can toss it around. So I hope to get some interesting discourse underway.
Now I won't get into anything overly heavy this time--no political issues or anything about religion, nothing about the supernatural or ufos. I'm going to start with something that I find rather disgusting and it bothers me whenever I see someone do it. It's the practice of spitting in public-- on the street, sidewalk, or anywhere that the rest of us might come in contact with.
There are laws in many places in the United States banning spitting on streets and sidewalks though they are rarely if ever enforced. But in a sense it's another form of littering, perhaps with greater health issues involved. In Singapore legal authorities take expelling any substance from one's mouth or nose onto public thoroughfares or public parks as a serious infraction and those charged may face steep fines, imprisonment, or caning. I've heard that Singapore is very clean so their laws must be working. However in the U.S. any laws concerning public expectoration are largely ignored.
Laws against spitting in public areas came into prominence in the late 1800's when tuberculosis was discovered to be spread by human secretions into the air. The law was enacted for health reasons. However, the law was one that was difficult to enforce. Most people find spitting to be uncouth and not many find it pleasant to come into contact with another person's spit. Think of the old image of the spittoon in the western saloon--even these rustic cowboys wanted the spit, usually generated from chewing tobacco, to be confined to an enclosed area. Spit is unclean, full of bacteria, and downright unhealthy.
Sure, sometimes a person might be sick or the mucous is flowing freely so that it must be eliminated at relatively short notice, but still one can usually find a discreet means of doing this. I've watched guys outdoors just blow their noses onto the ground. Well for gosh sakes, that's what handkerchiefs and tissues are for, or a least find a trash can or something. Let's face it -- this is gross, dirty, and rude.
So here's my argument: I think that public spitting and mucous expulsion should be illegal. If the laws regarding this haven't already been enacted in a community, they should now. However, just enacting laws or having the laws on the books is not going to do a thing if they are not vigorously enforced. Hand in hand with enforcement should come public education starting from kindergarten through high school. Also, public service campaigns much like those against smoking and littering should be waged. If people are made aware of the unsanitary nature of what they are doing and the offensiveness to others, I believe the practice will diminish. These tactics have worked well with smoking and littering.
Some may complain that this is a petty complaint and something like this moves a society closer to being a police state. Well maybe some harsh policing is necessary at times to make people aware that there are some things they do that are inconsiderate to others and display a lack of civic pride. A comparable example might be that of grafitti. Statisics have shown that in communities that have taken proactive measures to deter and prevent grafitti there has been an increase in pride in the community and a reduction of crime, which in turn attracts more business and helps increase property values. And think about this--spitting upon somebody is considered as display of disdain so why should we not see the public spitter as having disdain upon public property.
These laws would not only extend to everyone in public everyday, but also to athletes. Somewhere along the line it seems that someone determined that spitting is "cool" and manly. If I were an athlete I don't think that I would want to be falling into and rolling around in someone else's spit. There is absolutely no good reason to just spit wherever you want when accomodations could be made otherwise. Spitting is not cool and doesn't make you a man. And women who spit-- well I don't even want to go there.
Strict laws that are enforced and a strong campaign for education and public awareness are the measures that need to be in place. Police state? No. Education state? Yes. But in order to educate, some discipline must be exerted. I say put the laws in place or put more light on existing laws and gradually work up to a point of strict application within the span of a year or so. There is nothing wrong with everybody else respecting me, you, each other, and the world we share.
Trivial as it may seem to some, I'm tossing this out there as something that I seriously believe. How about you? Toss out your opinion into the comments page. And thanks.