Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Things sure have changed since I was a kid. It used to be okay to smile. Encouraged even. And hugging someone was considered nice, friendly, compassionate.

Today, in my home state of Virginia, the Department of Motor Vehicles, or DMV, is discouraging smiles. No, not just discouraging smiles, wiping them out entirely.

The DMV is telling people not to smile — or say “cheese” — when getting their photos taken for their drivers’ licenses. If they do smile, the picture cannot go on their license and they have to take another.

And all over the country, public schools are banning hugging.

Why the official suppression of friendliness and good cheer?

Well, in schools the administrators apparently cannot tell a friendly hug from a sexual grope, or a jovial high-five from a bullying slap.

So they’re outlawing all touching.

When I was in school, I don’t remember any rules against hugging or holding hands or even kissing — unless folks got carried away. And we trusted teachers and principals to make the judgment as to what was going too far.

Now, any touching invites what one administrator calls a “gray area.”

The DMV may have a better excuse to suppress smiles and grins and such: They are developing facial recognition software, and smiles get in the way. It’s all to protect us from identity theft, they say.

And yet isn’t it odd that protecting us makes us less human? Can that really be protection?

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. John Kelly says:

    Sad, so sad

  2. Harold J. Halverson says:

    I do not agree with you this time, I detest huggers and have told a bunch of them so, it mean nothing and is getting in my space!

  3. Mary Bodily says:

    I was not raised in a hugging family but I have a friend who taught me it was ok and I learned to enjoy the friendly justure. However I usually will give someone a pat on the sholder. As for schools and other such public places, it is a case of protecting the teachers. If they never touch anyone, they never can be accused of doing something inapropriate. It is sad we have to worry about things like this but we do. It is the world we like in.

  4. Hank says:

    Blame greedy GD lawyers who love going to court and grabbing all they can. Halverson-what sdo you do at a funeral when someone you know is in the family nd walks up to you with tears in their eyes(as happened to me yesterday) and is lookng for a hug to help them get over their grief? They must think you are some sort of ogre when you turn your back.

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