The Power of the “Ban”

The use of the “ban” has been gaining strength in the United States for years, from prohibition in the 1920’s to the current fight in New York City by Mayor Bloomberg attempting to ban soft drinks over 16 fluid ounces. Many of these bans are an attempt to improve human health (especially in a country where over 33% of adults are obese), improve a community, or help reach certain other goals to make our country a better place.

Many, however, have argued that these bans are an infringement on our rights as citizens as the United States. They infringe on our individual freedoms given to us in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

While our individual rights are incredibly important, there is something to say about taking the rights of one’s community into account. Personally, the communities in which I have grown up have become a part of my individual identity. To me, therefore, my individual rights and freedoms are directly linked to those of the society in which I reside.

The town of Concord, MA recently banned the sale of single-use plastic water bottles. While many are fighting against this ban, citing their rights as an individual to buy these plastic bottles, the majority of the town obviously voted to get rid of them. Whether the individual citizens chose this route for environmental reasons or not, the people of Concord are displaying a rising attitude that denounces plastic water bottles for the scam that they are in a country that has the lowest rates of sustainable consciousness.

Concord’s bottle ban will hopefully be the beginning of a movement. Starting with a small committee in a small town, positive changes were made that have begun to influence attitudes on a greater scale. Concord shows the power that a small community can have in making big change. This is why social groups and grassroots movements are so important: individuals with similar goals come together, fight for something they believe, and make positive advancements. Grassroots movements are the means through which our legislators know what we want, and how things like the Concord water bottle ban are made into law.

While bans can be seen as limiting the rights of the individual in a way, it is the rights of our earth and the environment that are furthered. Concord is fighting on behalf of the one that gives us life but cannot speak. By speaking for the silenced, the community of Concord has shown what it means to be a true citizen of the United States and of this world.

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