Thursday, February 10, 2005
There Oughta Be A Law
A lawmaker in Virginia, tired of hearing about and seeing young people who wear their pants around their knees, has introduced a bill to prohibit low-riding pants. The bill imposes a $50 fine for displaying one's undergarments in a "lewd or indecent manner." The lawmaker, Del. Algie T. Howell Jr., D-Norfolk, says the term underwear is pretty self-explanatory. "That's why they're called undergarments. They're supposed to be worn under something else," he said. The 67-year-old Howell, who is black, said this is not a statement against hip-hop culture, but rather one against this questionable fashion statement.
Many of us can sympathize with Howell’s perspective on this issue. Kids today frequently look like hoodlums and slobs, by the standards of my day, when pegged jeans, white socks and ducktails were the norm. No doubt many older Americans were as put off by that style as I am by this one.
Think for a moment of the major ramification of this bill, if enacted: No more plumber’s cracks. How will our culture survive? Will it spawn another Boxer Rebellion?
But seriously, folks, what was this legislator thinking? The “Droopy Drawers Law,” as it is being called, represents legislative excess, to put it in the worst terms, or inappropriate use of the General Assembly’s time and resources, to put it in less dramatic terms. Surely, Virginia lawmakers have more pressing issues to consider.
Opposition to the bill is based upon freedom of expression ideals, according to some high school students who commented on the issue. The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia agrees, calling the bill unconstitutional.
Del. Bobby Orrock, R-Spotsylvania, who is a teacher at Spotsylvania High School, voted against it. Orrock believes that parents need to confront their kids on this issue. "It's the parents' responsibility what their kids are wearing and how they look in public,” he said. "I resolved the issue in my own family, where my son thought that looked cool and I told him he could either wear his pants up or not wear pants at all," Orrock said. "He decided the better part of wisdom was to follow Daddy's instructions."
Del. Orrock gets my vote. Del. Does not.