Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your piss

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your piss

Spinnaker

First, the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons of things to be seized.

OK, now let’s begin.

With a stroke of his pen, Gov. Rick Scott has ordered, as of March, that drug testing be mandatory of new hires and spot checks of existing state employees under him. In addition, Scott has upheld his promise to drug test citizens seeking welfare, effective July 1. All of this applies regardless of suspicion.

The language of the bill states that the Florida Department of Children and Family services will be required to conduct drug tests on adults applying to the Federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program. The aid recipients would be responsible for the cost of the screening, they would recoup in their assistance if they qualify. Those who fail the required drug testing may designate another individual to receive the benefits on behalf of their children, sans reimbursement.

This may sound swell to those top 2 percent, fiscally well-off minorities, who can’t relate to the poor, or worse, refuse to. But to us humble observers here at the Spinnaker, it prompts many pensive questions: Where is the line drawn? Are families receiving Medicaid, state emergency relief, or educational grants and loans going to have to piss in a cup to get a few bucks? Why is it worth thousands of dollars to prove that people aren’t high in the midst of such devastating cuts to education? More important, why is it that the people who don’t want you to get high, or have sex, are the same people that you wouldn’t want to get high or have sex with in the first place?

“It’s not right for taxpayer money to be paying for somebody’s drug addiction,” Scott told CNN last month.

True, albeit, a short-cut to thinking.

Florida’s ACLU executive director, Howard Simon, refuted Scott’s legislation, calling it an intrusion upon citizen’s Fourth Amendment rights and an “egregious use of taxpayer money.”

Even if it is only for testing drugs, he said, urine samples analyze many elements that are simply none of anyone else’s business, like pregnancy, diabetes or depression.

“What [Scott] is doing,” he said, “is giving ugly legitimacy to an unfortunate stereotype that has been in this country for a couple of decades – that all welfare percipience are a bunch of drug users.”

It was Benjamin Franklin who said: Those who would give essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither.

We’re curious what will happen once enough poverty stricken drug-users are denied their bread and butter. If you think they’re ugly now, wait till they reach their breaking point. Better beef up the National Guard, Scott.

Similar legislation was passed in Michigan in 2000, but the federal district court struck it down as violating the fourth amendment. See, (Marchwinski v. Howard, 113 F.Supp.2d 1134).

To be fair, Scott is creating jobs. These drug tests will provide thousands of new customers to Solantic, a company Scott used to run – it’s now owned by a trust in his wife’s name.

Since stereotyping is OK, let’s talk about how street savvy people on welfare are. You think they can’t pass a piss test? Get real. Swipe a cleanser at the GNC and it’ll be raining food stamps at the Dollar General.

Have we mentioned that drug testing employees, unless they are in a safety-sensitive position, is a violation of the Fourth Amendment? We know they drug test at McDonalds, but people who apply for jobs that require a drug test voluntarily waive their Fourth Amendment rights. There is a difference. Therefore, welfare recipients can’t be tested, since they aren’t employees.

Another bit of flawless logic: Drug tests are stupid.

If half of our staff smokes a joint, on their own time, on the first of the month and takes a drug test the last Friday of the month, they’re probably going to get busted. However, if the other half snorts a heaping pile of meth the first of the month, they can test clean by the end of the week.

In sum, drug testing is an expensive process that has never been legitimately proven to increase productivity or decrease the use of recreational drugs. This endeavor is sure to cause a number of unfortunate outcomes, such as making the drug-testing industry extremely lucrative at the expense of increasing consumer and taxpayer costs, and increasing the use of very addictive, legally prescribed recreational drugs, such as Xanex and Viagra. Alas, this will create new industries that produce fast-acting drug cleansers.

The real issue here is that politicians, such as Scott and his ilk, don’t care about the poor, and by blaming them for poverty the politicos are freed from finding real solutions. It’s a perniciously prejudice attempt to brand drug use by poor as the cause of poverty, rather than a symptom of poverty. But remember: we pay their salaries, too. So drink some water, Scott and pony up that piss, boy, because you must be on drugs if you think this is justifiable.