Americans take pride in knowing they live in a democratic country that ensures freedom, but how true is this assumption? What exactly is freedom today and how does it affect us? The Webster's English Dictionary defines freedom as "The state of being able to act without hindrance or restraint, liberty of action". The truth of the matter is that America is not a completely free nation. Every year new laws get passed that are intrusions on our daily lives.
One law, which I strongly disagree with, is the smoking ban. A New York resident can no longer smoke in bars, restaurants, offices, or covered outdoor patios. The government should not have the right to tell independent businesses how to operate. Although second hand smoke is harmful, it is my choice to go to a place where smoking is permitted. People go to a bar to relax and have a good time, but now smokers would rather stay home where they don't have to step outside every fifteen minutes. This is causing a huge problem for bar owners as profits are dropping. A bar owner in New York City Claims that the new law "messed with her bars groove, and business is down forty percent" (Haughney, A.03).
Another freedom that has recently been taken away is the ban on hand held cell phone usage in the car. In theory, some accidents are caused by people talking on their cell phones but "statistics are scant regarding cell phone safety" (Kilgannon 14Ll.1). Most people don't normally drive with two hands on the wheel anyway so it shouldn't matter what is in that extra hand. Cell phones are only one distraction from driving, like eating or smoking. That is why it is absurd to single them out as a major problem.
The drinking age is yet another restriction on the American lifestyle. At the age of eighteen, a person has the right to vote, buy cigarettes and go to war but he or she still can't have an alcoholic drink. This is ridiculous; if I am old enough to be tried as an adult in court I should be responsible enough to consume alcohol.