Presented below is the full transcript of yesterday's much-discussed meeting in the halls of Congress.
Rep. Jeffrey Schwartz (R-NY) has entered the hall, followed closely by his fellow committee members, Glenn Howerson (R-LA), Stephen Roberts (D-IA), Dave Trillian (D-AL), Norman Sailor (R-CO). Rep. Schwartz leans towards the microphone.
Thank you all for joining us to discuss this very important topic. I know it's a hot button issue that deals with the health of many Americans, so it's imperative that we author legislation towards a vote in the House. Any dalliance could cause even more innocent deaths, and we cannot stand idly by and watch that happen.
We shall get to our panel of distinguished guests in just a moment. First, I feel the need to make a statement on behalf of the committee to reaffirm our stance on this issue.
As the head of the Transportation Commission, vehicular safety is of the utmost importance. The stats are fairly clear: vehicles are the most dangerous mode of transportation across this great land. Every year, hundreds of thousands of innocent people are slain inside them. Think about how many children are taken before their time, before they can contribute to this great nation. Who knows what they could become? And that we have allowed this to go on, under our watch, is frankly disturbing. I know I speak for the rest of this committee in saying there isn't a more important mission for us to tackle.
As of now, we have regulation that only goes so far. We not only allow the use of a seatbelt, but we have federal laws that force car manufactures to install them in every car they sell. But what do seat belts really do? Do they care for the health and safety of the inhabitants of those vehicles, or do they, in fact, lead to the opposite? The idea of "protection" via seat belts only makes people believe they are safe, directly contributing to high-risk driving.
If you look at the data -- and it's on the books, right here in front of me; you can check it -- there was a time before seatbelt mandates, and the number of vehicular fatalities was lower than it is today. This safety method, this "control," leads to drivers not focusing on what's important. Instead, they feel secure enough to text with boys, play games with themselves, and ignore the advice from your parents and your God. These seat belts don't cause restraint -- they give these kids the right to act recklessly behind the wheel.
What's even more reprehensible is that, after this bailout, we are using taxpayer dollars to fund these car companies, making the citizens of America foot the bill for this so-called "protection." Safety and seat belt implementation account for well over 90% of what Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler do. We're throwing money at what amounts to death factories, all on the public's dime.
And if people don't believe in seat belts? What if you don't want one installed with money from your paycheck? Well, that's just too bad. They don't have a say in the matter. And that's a damn shame. I talked to one gentleman, Bob McGrath, an auto mechanic, who told me that if he ever got into a car accident back before seatbelts, all you had to do is stick a Bayer aspirin between your lips and you'd be fine. But big government has stepped right in without one passing thought to the American people and their beliefs.
Therefore, the committee has come to the conclusion that all seat belts must be banned in the United States of America. It's the only way we can all survive safely, humanely, and under God's loving gaze. If we are to go, then we are to go; it's His will. Using these flappy bits of protection will surely only rile him. Who are we to play God? To not give every person inside that vehicle a chance for a long, full life is ridiculous, no matter who is inside that car. Every living thing deserves a fair shot, even if that means that they will be damaged irreversibly and live a life under the auspices of someone who cannot properly care for them. He works in mysterious ways.
There has been talk from people with vehicles who claim that I do not have the proper experience to discuss these issues, as if being the chair of the Transportation Committee isn't enough of a qualification.
(The committee laughs)
It is true that I don't have a vehicle. In fact, I've never had one and, frankly, don't plan on ever having one. As a born and bred New Yorker, it was my belief -- and my parents' belief, and their parents before them -- to not deal with vehicles. They encumber society, cramming up all of New York City's streets, dumping smells and toxins into the environment, polluting everything around us.
However, that's not to say I have no experience with a vehicle. I have, on occasion, been inside them, so I have a fairly good idea where everything is -- the front seat, the back seat, that thing you flip on the side that makes the lights go on and off. One time I even sat behind the wheel in a parking lot, back when I was courting Linda, the Jersey girl and love of my life sitting over there.
(Mrs. Schwartz smiles and gently waves.)
And when she finally let me get behind the wheel, I couldn't find the damn gear shift. So we just sort of sat, staring at each other. I never heard the end of it.
(The committee members laugh. Mrs. Schwartz stares mournfully at the ground and fidgets her feet.)
But not driving that car was the best thing we ever did. See, life requires faith, not scientists and health experts and empirical data or the opinion of anyone who actually has a vehicle. What would they know that the Almighty doesn't? And that's where the slippery slope begins. To have one power didcatically shout from on high what American citizens should do with their vehicles is deplorable and, frankly, goes against the tenets of the basic freedoms we're all guaranteed in this country. Every person should have the right to do with their vehicle what they believe in, regardless of what one entity believes is right for them. And that's why we have to keep God on our side, and get protection out of our vehicles!
(The committee members applaud.)
Now let us hear from Robert O'Connor, head of the Walk For Christ foundation. Mr. O'Connor....