Rep. Jeannette Oxford received sad news last week that cancer survivor and activist Don Young will not be attending the American Cancer Society’s Missouri Lobby Day later this month because the Missouri capitol is, literally, toxic.
I’m all for freedom and, you know, doing what you need to do to get through the day. But the dangers of secondhand smoke are real, and too many Missouri legislators continue to have a shockingly cavalier attitude toward the harm and suffering it causes.
"As long as I'm blowing it out the window and it's not bothering anybody, what difference does it make?" Rep. Tim Meadows told the Post Dispatch last month. Of course, this is the kind of statement nonsmokers hear from smokers all the time, usually while surrounded with the nauseating aroma of stale cigarettes. But still.
I would like to think that hearing Don Young’s heartbreaking story of overcoming throat cancer only after losing the ability to speak and having much of his neck removed would convince Meadows and others to quit – or at least go outside. But Don won’t be able to tell it – not even through his electro-larynx.