Sen. Missy Irvin’s bill to limit the freedom of people different from her is on the agenda for the House Public Health committee meeting this morning. Make sure to read the statement from Misty Forsberg — a licensed tattoo and body piercing artist from Fort Smith — explaining why the poorly drafted bill is a bad idea.
Forsberg and other artists in the state have been active in promoting tighter regulation of safety and training in their industry, making it all the more frustrating that Irvin is attempting a heavy-handed prohibition approach.
Forsberg stressed that she did not think legislators were intentionally trying to attack folks interested in body modification, but that misinformation and fear had muddied the waters.
“A lot of people in the state, they see things like this and because they don’t understand why we do it, it’s scary,” she said. “People’s natural reaction is to try to be against something they don’t understand. People don’t like things outside of what’s their norm. Because of the area that we live in, a lot of stuff that’s normal, everyday activity to many of us in the body-modification industry is considered gross and distasteful.”
I’ll repeat again that this bill would have no impact on my own life, and I’ll repeat that the very fact that most of us will face no consequence is all the more reason to stand up for the few that will.
There are lots and lots of big-issue bills floating through the ledge. Perhaps you will say that this particular issue is small potatoes. But the principle is large. At its root, this bullying bill is an attempt to tell a relatively small group of people in this state, a group of people without much political clout, that their harmless choices are not okay.
It comes from a mindset that seeks to tell us how to live our own lives. It is the same mindset that seeks to tell us what we can wear, or what we can do with our own bodies, or what we do in our bedrooms. To tell us what we can say, or how we must pray.
It is a mindset that is at the root of the forms of government we find repellent. America in 2013 ain’t perfect, but we are blessed not to live under a such a regime. That’s why this isn’t small potatoes. Being American means being ever vigilant against this brand of ugliness.
Let’s hope that the people’s House will stand on principle.