You don’t read the “Terms and Conditions” before clicking agree. Store customers don’t read whether the front door says “Push” or “Pull” — let alone any other retail signage. And legislators, as a matter of course, rarely read the full text of the bills they’re voting on, considering this attention to detail “highly overvalued.” That’s how Minnesota wound up legalizing hemp-based THC edibles and beverages, even though the state’s Republican-controlled Senate has opposed recreational cannabis in all forms.
“I don’t think elected leaders grasped that this was happening,” the co-chair of an anti-legalization group told a Minneapolis news affiliate. They were absolutely correct.
To state the obvious: this rules. At last, a positive outcome of the GOP’s resistance to literacy, and Democratic leadership that is strong enough to say “No Backsies.” The marijuana-panic crusaders needn’t worry much, either — these hemp extract products are less potent than the THC-infused snacks and drinks that have sent some of our nation’s weirdest opinion columnists into a fugue state. But the story is a warning all the same. You really gotta read stuff. What if you, as a conservative lawmaker, accidentally voted to ban AR-15s? Why, you’d be steamrolled right out of your seat by Second Amendment psychos in the time it takes a gummy to kick in.
It’s no accident that we’ve developed a euphemistic way of accusing colleagues and coworkers of having not read the message we sent before replying. Nor that frustration with new appliances or assembling furniture is so common — more often than not, the instructions do help. Please note that I’m not even begging anyone to pick up a novel or poetry collection. I just think it behooves us all to consistently read certain things, like traffic signs and the warnings on cans of bear spray. Maybe, if more attention were paid to printed words, I wouldn’t always be in line behind someone at CVS with a coupon they insist says something other than it does.
I promise that the time you save not reading stuff, so much of it put out in the world to aid and inform you, is never worth the headache that results from ignoring it. Take a half-second and try to process. For the politicians, it’s already too late — they’ll never be able to make heads or tails of the papers that land on their desks. The rest of us can hope to avoid the embarrassment.