Once upon a time in America, the government largely stayed out of people’s business unless they asked for help or were up to no good. Those days are over. Today’s politicians and bureaucrats — especially bureaucrats — are a bunch of nib-noses and proud of it.
The latest proof: Lemonade Freedom Day, which will be celebrated tomorrow. In a country that embraces liberty and personal responsibility, why do we need a special day to defend the rights of budding young entrepreneurs everywhere to sell sweet drinks? Because nanny-staters across the country are denying them that right.
The insanity hit close to home for our family last week when the Republican presidential ticket came to our neighborhood. With Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan scheduled to speak just two blocks from our house in Virginia, we expected a steady flow of foot traffic on our street and encouraged our three children (ages 7, 10 and 12) to sell drinks and snacks from our front lawn.
I work in marketing, so I couldn’t resist the urge to add the creative touch to our product names. We called our lemonade “Romney-ade,” and we sold “Sweet LiberTea,” a nod to the tea partiers in town. The menu also included West Virginia’s unofficial state snack with a partisan spin — “GOPepperoni Rolls.” And for the journalists in the neighborhood who might want to maintain the appearance of objectivity in refreshment choices, we offered “Nonpartisan Bottled Water” and “Capital Cookies,” which were just Costco cookies marked up to make a profit.
The recent nationwide controversy over lemonade stands did make us wonder whether our attempt to teach our children how to run a business and serve customers with a smile might rile the local regulators. But we live in a Republican city that is friendly to the free market and we put the stand on our own property, so we figured it was legit.
Just to be safe, we also told the councilman who owns a business three buildings down from our house. He didn’t register any objections. We decided to take a chance.
It’s just sad that, if only for a moment, we thought the government instead might shut us down. Such destructive intervention has happened often enough that protesters will be on Capitol Hill tomorrow to demand that bureaucrats let kids be kids by selling lemonade.
The protest also is a defense of dairy farmers who want to sell raw milk without the endorsement of the Food and Drug Administration. And while they’re at it, maybe the protesters should defend the right of tenderhearted ladies to give food to neighborhood children without paying the government $1,000 for the right to be compassionate.
“If you cannot make it to D.C., then you need to get out there and set up a stand,” Robert Fernandes, the founder of Lemonade Freedom Day, wrote on his group’s website. “Open one up in front of your house, or in the park, or in front of city hall. If you cherish freedom, then be free.”
Filed under: Business and Culture and Family and Food and Government and News & Politics and People and West Virginia