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Nicholas Ferroni Headshot

Why Mayor Bloomberg Needs a Refresher in High School History

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We would like to think that the government consists of men and women who are intelligent, logical and selfless individuals; sadly this is often not the case. Now, I know not all politicians may fit this description, but, the one thing I do know for certain about is that many of them know less about history than my students, because if they did; they would know that restricting or banning anything, even a 32 oz. cup of a sugary drink, will only encourage people to defy the government like children defy their parents. If Mayor Bloomberg would sit in my class for two days while we discuss government's horrible experiment known as "Prohibition" (or as my grandfather called it, "The only law I ever broke"), followed by an episode of The Simpsons titled "Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment," they'd realize as my students do: Laws DO NOT change culture -- which proves that the writers of The Simpsons (the most brilliant writers ever, and would love if they fulfilled my dream of supplying my voice for an episode) are better suited to write law than politicians.

Without going into much detail, "Prohibition," or the banning of alcohol in the U.S. between 1919 and 1933, when government passed the 18th Amendment (thinking that without alcohol, American's would be happier, more productive and less abusive) which made it illegal to produce, sell and consume alcohol (and definitely NO beer pong). Like most laws they pass, politicians don't actually follow them, and they continued drinking on a daily basis. The government's "do as I say" legislation had the adverse effect, as every parent could have told them, and Americans actually drank more than before, and it's even believed to have led to the creation of NASCAR with bootleggers creating "muscle" cars to outrun "coppers."

Ultimately, their experiment received an "F," and was tossed out with the passing the 21st Amendment, which repealed the 18th. Now, I believe that one of the purposes of keeping Amendments in the Constitution, even after it has been repealed, is so future generations can learn from our mulligans. But, apparently history and even knowing the Constitution's not a prerequisite for becoming a politician and mayor. Bloomberg's goal is to reside over a city where sugary beverages can't be purchased in cups larger than 16 ounces, but porn, tattoos, alcohol and Starbucks can be purchased in unlimited amounts, and often on the same block.

My only comfort lies in the fact that my New Jersey Governor Chris Christie often avoids discussing the rising obesity of children as Mitt Romney avoids discussing his past tax returns, and for obvious reason. As I told my students in response to Bloomberg's legislative "brain fart": Like prohibition, this is a horrible idea that will fail miserably. But, I think it's going to be hilarious when a teacher in a New York school storms into the bathroom to find a kid smoking weed and another drinking 64 oz. of Coke, and proceeds to tackle the kid with the soda and turn him over to the NYPD.