Why the baggy-pants ban is a good thing

Josh Schatzle
Carbondale resident

Well, the state legislature of Tennessee has had enough!

They finally had the nerve to do what all of us have itched to do: walk over to that teenager on the corner — with his pants clinging to the bottom of his rear end the way Michael J. Fox clung to the back of that bumper on his skateboard in “Back to the Future” — and hike them up, where they belong.

The sad news for those in the Tennessee school system inspired by the “thuggish look” that seems to be sweeping across the fruited plain is that it’ll now be against the law to wear those signature baggy pants during school hours.

I don’t think it’s hard to guess Tennessee’s motives, but let’s play along just for fun.  Perhaps the state legislatives believed baggy pants interfere with the kinesthetic development of students, what with those belts cinched up around the thighs and restricting one’s stride.  Or maybe global warming is the culprit with high school physics teachers having calculated the man-caused global warming contribution of all that denim dragging along the ground.

Whatever the reason for the new law, there’s at least one guy out there not sympathetic to it.  A Fox News article cited “a former high school student,” who with great erudition remarked “Just grown ups making more rules; gonna break ‘em anyway.”  That, of course, won’t surprise officials familiar with the old saying “rules were made to be broken.”

But what’s happened to those old officials who dug their heels in, making rules they knew full well would be broken anyway?  Did they adopt that tactic of old, the psyche-out, and agree together to cease and desist from giving those nasty old rule-breakers any more rules to break?  Seriously, where have all the rules gone?  Have the old rule-makers thrown in the old proverbial towel, taken home their ball, refusing to play?

It certainly isn’t new news that rule-breakers will break the rules anyway.  In 1 Timonthy 1:9, an old saint, himself one of the earliest experts in the field of rule-making, and rule-breaking, said nearly two millennia ago that “the law isn’t laid down for the just and the righteous, but for the lawless and disobedient.”

Even he had been around long enough to know that rules, like records, were made to be broken, but that didn’t stop him from laying down the law. Despite this fact, he insisted “It was still a good thing to do.”  What was that old saint onto?

I think it’s this: rules are like fences — and we people put them up not because bad people won’t hop them — but because good people will abide by them and know that they are good.  And someone seemed to think that knowing we were being good was a good thing.   That same someone must have also thought that the opposite was true — that the fence-hopper should know that he was indeed hopping fences, and realize that fence hopping was bad. And who knows what might come of that!

You see, the fences may not have the power in and of themselves to make us good, but they certainly can tell us what is good.  And someone, a long, long time ago thought that was a good thing for people.  The state of Tennessee doesn’t think that by simply erecting a baggy-pants fence, kids will stop hopping it.  But they do seem to think that it’s good for kids to know when they are, or when they aren’t.



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