I agree with Mr. Pinter, and I am not a smoker, and never have been. But this proposed action is bullying, something that has become very common. We are now encouraged to teach kids about the dangers of bullying, about the damage it inflicts on those being bullied, and those that witness it. However, there is a great deal of bullying on an ongoing basis among the adults. There is a pervasive attitude of non-acceptance and pressuring to conform to a certain behavior or mindset. It’s supposed to be OK in this country to be different than the next guy. It’s supposed to be OK to have your own beliefs and practices about religion, politics, sexual orientation- smoking. As long as you do not harm others, it’s supposed to be OK. All religions preach acceptance of others, regardless of their differences. However, bullying is very pervasive, especially in the area of politics and religion. If one has a different belief system in religion or politics and verbalizes it, it’s at his own peril. But right now we are extending the bullying to the smokers. We are entering what will be a divisive political campaign, and people will act badly. While it is politics, and state and religion are supposed to be kept separate here, religion will be brought into it, and will be used as a weapon. Political campaigns always feel like a playground full of bullies to me, with a number of folks trying to break my butt to get me to act like they want me to. I keep quiet, as many of us do, to prevent the verbal abuse.As the next year and a half progress, remember that we teach our kids not to bully. Maybe we should think a bit before we attack others for a different opinion or lifestyle, religion or political belief.
B. Diane Eames