With Strings Attached

Over these last few years, we’ve witnessed a growing adult activism sector in society, which has encouraged college students, then students in high school, and more recently trickling down even to middle school students.  And the specific target emerging now from a growing wave of these high-and-middle school students, specifically young females, is the push for their schools to provide free tampons and pads in all women’s bathrooms, so that young ladies can be made to feel more “comfortable,” while helping to remove the “stigma that occurs around menstruation,” in the words of a female Washington State legislator.  Not to stop there, it’s being reported that a couple of female middle-school students in Rochester, Washington actually started an on-line Go-Fund-Me page to raise money in order to supply the free menstrual products previously mentioned, but then adding to that, the placement of free “extra underwear and leggings” in their  school lady’s rooms.  No mention whether this fundraiser was a one-time effort, or the expectation that once begun, it will then somehow be continued.  And nowhere in any of this is there mention made of any applicable homelife status, economic, social, or ethnic requirements/considerations necessary for providing these products gratis.

But the strings attached continue.  In the interest of gender equality, how about stocking the male bathrooms with a “free” change of underwear for the boys as well, since they, too, can have unexpected hygiene issues?  And speaking of hygiene needs, how about supplying deodorant, tooth paste and brushes, and even acne medication, the latter for improved self-esteem.  For the older boys, perhaps razors and shaving cream?  Do all of these extras sound absurd?  Well, who would have thought that, in just the one school for now, whether via charitable gifts or the district, we’d actually be talking about providing girls with a “free” change of “underwear and leggings?” And folks, these basics are spreading.  Already three states have mandated that “free” menstrual supplies be made available in all of their public schools – California, Illinois, and New York – with at least 16 additional state legislatures currently considering such (including Georgia)! Ultimately, it may very well become a national public school requirement.

And here, finally then, is where all the attached strings hit the tax-payer wall:  Where does all of this imagined-to-be “free” stuff end?  And especially at a time in our country where the progressive promises of handouts are becoming more plentiful and, incredibly, even expected, particularly by our young people, who are continually exposed to the ever-increasing, progressive ideology embracing “free stuff” on-demand.  Of course, the reality is (sorry, liberals, for bringing this up) nothing is ever “free.” Even the clean water and air that surrounds us isn’t free. It’s made possible by government regulations and funding, along with substantial corporate investment, all to which is done to further ensure the heath of the public.

So, someone, somewhere always has to pay for anything being “sold” to the gullible as “free.”  Most often, it is the local, state, and/or federal tax-payments that cover the cost of the “free” stuff.  Or in the case of the young ladies in Rochester, Washington, it’s the goodness and benevolence of those contributing some of their own earnings to provide those special products and “extra underwear” for the young ladies.  Often, charities (and the good people who support them) do generate the contributions that can make certain things available to those in need, either medically, socially, or educationally (scholarships).  But those are the exceptions.  When it comes to those much bigger and far more expensive items, like “free” healthcare and “free” college, with more such pipe dreams seemingly being promised by progressives with every speech, is ultimately funded by tax money.  Tax money that most of us assumed would be, or should be, used to support local government and public services (or nationally, for our defense, and disaster response requirements).  Put it to a vote of hard-working Americans, and you would doubtless see support for most of that “free” stuff vanish, except of course for those citizens with truly legitimate needs. Americans are the most charitable and giving people on the planet.

The bigger, baseline issue here, amidst this cascading candy-land of “free stuff is this: What has happened to personal responsibility?  And especially at a time when this expanding economy has provided work and relative prosperity to all those able and willing to work.  So, in that context, when and why has it become the government’s responsibility to take care of us, to provide for our daily needs (and as has been proposed, even some very big multi-year ones!). .And frankly, back where this essay began, even for something as basic and, frankly affordable, as tampons and pads for young women?  How were these and other products, deemed necessary for personal “comfort,” obtained when young students were not in school?  Pretty sure personal necessities such as those, and many others, have been provided by parents or guardians since birth. What has changed to now make government, or in this present case, local school districts, responsible for providing those normal and expected  raising-children-basics, when that should be the continuing role and responsibility of adult wage earners at home (excepting, again, those mentally or physically unable to work).

The ultimate innocent-looking “string,” the trade-off for socialist-era support, is the loss of personal liberty and freedom of choice.  That outstretched hand-and-wrist waiting impatiently for “free” stuff, when taken to its governmental extreme, is the same wrist that will eventually have government-mandated restraints on it! When it comes to government handouts, there are always, seen and unseen, strings attached.

On its own, there is nothing inherently wrong with making some provisions for the special hygiene needs of young female students. It’s the eventual consequence of desiring things, small and big, all for “free,” that on a national scale, inevitably leads to a more complete socialist government.  And with it, comes entire governing and economic structural change, leading ultimately to the stated desire of Mr. Obama, and now Mr. Sanders, “to fundamentally transform America.”  Back then, that sounded fresh and inviting. Now we know what it really means.

(School info via The Wall Street Journal, Jennifer Calfas, 2-26-20).


ADDENDUM:   By Scottish law (effective 2018-2019 academic year), period products are made available free in all schools, colleges, and universities throughout the country.  Now, the Scottish Parliament has given tentative approval to a measure that would make period products available at no charge to ALL women across the nation!  There are some Parliament members who have real concerns regarding the cost of this benefit for women, estimated to be more than $31-million per year!

(Scottish law and proposal via CBS News/reachmd.curatasite.com, Caitlin O’Kane, 2-26-20).