Apparently inspired by General Larry Platt's distaste for pants being on the ground, a small town in Platt's home state of Georgia mandated today that its good citizens keep their pants pulled up to an appropriate height. Of course, Dublin, Georgia, mayor Phil Best didn't explicitly acknowledge Platte: "We've gotten several complaints from citizens saying the folks with britches down below their buttocks was offensive, and wasn't there something we could do about it," he told CNN today. The answer, it turns out, was yes.
The move was not exactly unprecedented. Across the nation, a couple of other municipalities have recently put similarly stupid ordinances into effect -- the one in Dublin stipulates that pants and skirts not be worn more than three inches below the waist. Dublin is just the latest to add its proud name to an elite list of cities where officials are giving the easily offended a legal outlet for continuing to be offended.
The hardest thing to believe about this whole thing, though, is that before the law, people's outlet for being offended by the benign was evidently to call the mayor. After a year of fielding complaint calls about people wearing their pants too low -- a year -- it's understandable Best would want that to end. And while we sympathize with him for his annoying job -- we really do -- this law is not the answer.
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Aside from being petty and asinine, the fundamental problem with the law is that it's racist. Namely, it targets a certain racial group -- and don't try to tell us like Best did that it's not the case. "It's for white, black, man, woman. The ordinance is for everyone, and I've seen it violated by all races and sexes," he explained, but that is either a repression of underlying racism or a display of shocking naivete (or possibly both). Because let's be honest: You might as well ban Escalades with 24s and then point out that white people also occasionally drive Escalades with 24s. Yeah, they do, maybe. But the vast majority of people who drive Escalades with 24s are black people. That's just the way it is.
The point is, racism is depressing, and this law would be way more acceptable if it actually were inspired by a viral American Idol spot. That's why we're imagining that Best signed the bill into law with the following remarks: