I Have Met The Enemy
Unfortunately, many times the enemy is us. By "us", I mean smokers and even those non-smokers who agree with our side of the Anti-smoker issue. We seem to be LETTING "them" defeat us.
The thing that strikes me, as I read posts on various blogs and forums, from smokers and anti-smokers throughout cyberspace and representing a cross-section of the "civilized" world, is how often WE seem to accept and express defeat. Even in defiance, ie: "Okay so you won. You made your point and I understand that my smoke makes you sick so I don't have a right to do it around you. Can you understand that even though I am a stupid, weak, tobacco junkie I have a right to kick your ass if you try to tell me what to do when I'm outside your smoke-free zone?"
Then there are those who have come to believe that they are indeed stupid, ugly, selfish addicts who should be ashamed of themselves. They hide the fact that they choose to smoke, sometimes even from their own friends and families. They agree that they should quit and sometimes say they agree that smoking bans are a good thing. "Maybe it will help me kick the habit." "I know I shouldn't smoke around my kids because it will give them asthma." "Well the vote was 2 to 1, so I guess I have to go along with the majority."
Not that it's surprising we should feel defeated. After all, the campaign against us has been going on a long, long time and we know it's extremely well funded, well organized and insidious. But, we shouldn't forget that we have facts on our side, while they only have "truth" - their own particular brand of "truth".
And even when we KNOW The Truth Is A Lie, we say "Well, what can we do about it? That's the way it is."
There is a lot we can do about it. First of all, smokers must take back their dignity and recognize that choosing to smoke does NOT make anyone a "loser". I don't know who to thank for this web page, but I guarantee it will lift your spirits and remind you who you are.
And BTW, my profile pic is less than a year old. At 5'7", I weigh a tidy 140 pounds, still chew with my very own teeth and though my hair is beginning to grey around the edges, have been mistaken for someone 10-15 years younger than the 58 I'll be in two weeks. I still walk a mile or two almost every day because I enjoy it (even in the frequently-rainy climate of Western Washington), can still run up two flights of stairs without panting and do water aerobics with more energy and enthusiam than most of the 30-somethings who share the pool with me. I have smoked an average of a pack a day since I was 22.
If you do want to quit smoking because YOU have decided it effects your health or it's a habit you can live without, there are plenty of methods out there to help you. But do it because you WANT to, not because you feel forced into it. And once you become a non-smoker - don't join the anti-smoker crusade.
Second of all, we need to educate ourselves about the methods, motives and maliciousness of the anti-smoker brigade. Michael J. McFadden's Dissecting Antismokers Brains is, hands down, the BEST investment you will ever make in this regard. You'll also find links at left to other excellent sources of information.
And once you understand what's really going on, you can educate others. Start with friends and family, whether smokers or non-smokers. Help them to see the fallacies, the loss of freedom, the risk to their own liberties; and encourage them to spread the word as well. Many non-smokers would support us if they were fully aware of the scope of the issue. As it is, they usually don't think it effects them much, so...oh well.
But most of all, make certain that every smoker you know understands the facts and refuses to believe the propaganda about ETS. As long as smokers themselves believe the lie that their smoke "injures" others, we have no chance to change the culture we find ourselves in. "They" count on us to be good little citizens in their smoke-free utopia because they know that most people don't want to harm others by their actions. "They" have made us compliant by lying to us for the past 30 years and their lies are becoming more shrill and egregious. As long as no one offers any serious challenge, the lies and outrageous bigotry toward smokers will continue unabated.
Third, stop thinking that the only way to win is to have enough money to fight on the same terms as the massive ATI. A true "grassroots" organization can have enormous influence if it's large enough and ever-present. There's a lot we can accomplish with our own computers and printers, a little courage and bit of creativity.
I'll have more on that idea in the days to come and I'll soon be posting the next chapter of The Smokers' Rebellion too. Look for a new character to fire up your imagination and perhaps, to inspire you.