To the editor,
Here it is – another Sunday shopping opinion piece. If everybody else can do it, so can I.
I recently read through a story in The Daily News on the aforementioned topic entitled “Because we could”. Now this publication is by no means the gold standard for journalism, but the point it made, if unintentional, was exactly mine: if you open it, they will come. I’m actually not sure what intended message was, but the article was littered with quotes from random mall patrons stating their reasons for being consumers after voting against Sunday shopping in 2004. Hypocrites? Maybe, but I would only charge them with being human. After all, isn’t it at least in most of our natures to take what we can get in this world? Many of us try to do what we feel is morally right (no interjections from philosophy majors on this point please) most of the time and we’re quite vocal about our beliefs in such areas. I compost, recycle, and try to buy local produce when available. However, I’ll be the first to admit that most of my clothing was probably manufactured in areas of the world where human rights are not a government priority. I’m also somewhat addicted to consumer electronics which as most of us know come from the world’s somewhat ethically-challenged business partner: China. How could I be so two-faced? It’s easy. Because in a material North American culture, faced with the choice of paying $200 or $2000 for an iPod, I’m always walking though door number 1.
Let’s extend the argument to a slightly more ludicrous scenario. Say there were no laws against stealing. If you really wanted a particular item while strolling the aisles of (ugh) Wal-Mart and you still had a week to wait for payday, would you really feel terrible about simply taking it home? I’m not saying everyone out there is a closet kleptomaniac, but I hope you see my point. Unless someone tells us not to, we will.
One of the interviewees actually said, “It was something to do before supper.” The passage went on to say that his big purchase of the day was a seven-dollar radio (wonder where it was made?). I would venture to guess that had the mall not been an option that afternoon, he would have found another way to spend leisure time. In fact, none of the statements made seemed to indicate any kind of imminent purchasing emergency that required stores to be open on Sunday.
So my point, is simply, the government exists to force the collective hand of society, and sometimes even smack it when it reaches for the cookie jar. Individuals on his or her own will do what is best for the individual good. It is the responsibility of government to then do what is in the best interest of the societal good. Giving people a choice in matters such as this may seem like the best option. After all we don’t want to live under some dystopic umbrella of control. As one ignoramus in the article pointed out, “If people in church don’t want to go shopping, it’s their own prerogative.” Ouch. Way to take one step back for mankind. I could go on about the religious implications of having stores shut down on Sunday, instead of say Wednesday, but for now I’ll simply state that my belief is that there should be one day of the week during which people have no option but to pocket their money and put it back in the cheap gadget fund. I am in no way associated with any particular religion, and I don’t see anything wrong with having a day off on a Sunday. I don’t believe Jesus was the Messiah either, but I still celebrate Christmas, by the way.
To conclude, I’d like to put a question out there to anybody who’d care to give me their own reasoning: why did we vote on this two years ago in the first place? If democratic decisions are cancelled out as easily and quickly as this one, then why bother having the institutions present at all? If that’s the way our system works, I suppose the federal government could easily put the gay marriage bill back on the table, and that’s just ridiculous. Isn’t it?
By no, I’m not tired of this argument yet