Some people think I am giving the founders of this country a bad name.
I have railed against the nefarious negotiations that yielded the federalist ideal of the Electoral College that intentionally valued a vote in a rural state above one in more populous states.
But all of the founding fathers weren’t shifty shysters looking to make any bargain to bring the federation of states together.
Saturday marks the 238th anniversary of the First Continental Congress passing a resolution that could have saved out country if future lawmakers hadn’t given in to their more prurient interests.
The early American path pavers passed a regulation discouraging entertainment in the form of shows and plays.
“That we will in our several stations encourage frugality, economy, and industry; and promote agriculture, arts, and the manufactures of this country, especially that of wool; and will discountenance and discourage every species of extravagance and dissipation,” the resolution stated. “Especially all horse-racing, and all kinds of gaming, cock-fighting, exhibitions of shows, plays, and other expensive diversions and entertainments.”
Many states followed the recommendation of the Continental Congress and passed laws forbidding circuses and theatre presentations. It was a move of austerity during the country’s removal of ties from British colonialists.
It was a great idea that should have stuck.
The President of Yale University at the time is reported to have concurred with the decision by saying, “to indulge a taste for playgoing means nothing more or less than the loss of that most valuable treasure: the immortal soul.”
One needs to look no further than basic cable channels to see that he was absolutely correct.
Many of you modern-day Americans will see this as an unnecessary regulation. But leaving this resolution in place would have prevented two of the most tragic events in American History.
President Abraham Lincoln was shot and killed while attending a play.
That was pretty bad.
But the resolution would have also prevented perhaps the event that has damaged our society even more than the loss of our leader who helped us end slavery.
It would have prevented the rise of Honey Boo Boo. If this law had remained in effect, I wouldn’t have accidentally stopped my wandering eyes on the pint-sized pageant princess’ “reality” show and continued watching like a moth drawn to a porch light.
I know it is doing me no good, but I couldn’t pry myself away.
And thanks to that horrible life decision, I now know what Honey Boo Boo’s momma’s foot looks like after a forklift ran over it.
Page 2 of 2 - Thanks to our founders backing away from the entertainment embargo, we can now watch people auction off abandoned storage units, duck call manufacturers doing everything but manufacturing duck calls, and a toothless Kentuckian chasing all manners of wildlife while squealing “Live action!”
After the Revolutionary War separated us from those theatre going, cock-fighting Brits, leaders relented and even George Washington was known as a fan of such productions.
In his defense, he couldn’t have foreseen what a generation of Americans would call entertainment almost two and a half centuries later.
We almost avoided the catastrophe. But almost counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, not Honey Boo Boos.
Kent Bush is the Augusta Gazette Publisher, a columnist and blogger for the GateHouse Media Network. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.