As much as I have often wondered what kind of hallucinogenic drugs Missouri state legislators are on when they pass one ludicrous bill after another, I never dreamed the same thoughts were running through their heads.
That revelation came this week as the Missouri House of Representatives debated a bill that would require anyone receiving public assistance to undergo periodic random drug tests.
From all appearances, it was just another election year bill designed to warm the cockles of the Republican majority in our state as it tries to further increase its advantage in both houses. After all, what stirs up voters in this Tea Party era more than a chance to stick it to the poor?
And then, the debate took an unexpected turn. An amendment was offered that would require state legislators to undergo drug tests every two years before they take office. Even more surprisingly, the amendment passed by a wide margin. The entire package then sailed through the House on a 113-40 vote.
The bill should have no problems making it through the Senate during an election year….which means Missourians will have taken another step in the continuing march toward eroding our freedom of privacy completely.
It is not just welfare recipients and state legislators who are the targets of this drug testing frenzy. Another Missouri bill would require random drug testing of public school teachers.
The U. S. Supreme Court has already approved school policies that require random drug testing for students who participate in extracurricular activities, and my school has adopted such a policy, even though you would think in a country that prides itself in its freedoms that someone would have to have probable cause in order to invade a student’s privacy in that fashion.
Even worse, the students have bought into the same line of reasoning fed to them by those who instituted drug testing. “Why should a drug test bother me if I don’t have anything to hide?” I have heard that comment many times.
Some day in the not-so-distant future, when everyone has to submit to random drug tests and we have been stripped of all expectation of privacy we may look back and see what a precious freedom we have lost.