Sunday, October 24, 2010

Chicagoland Syndication 10-20-10: American freedoms hanging out to dry

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American freedoms hanging out to dry
By Ray Hanania

You'll want to hold your nose on this one -- with a clothes pin.

Jill Saylor lives in a mobile home in Canton, Ohio, where she came up with a small way to fight global warming. But, she’s being hung out to dry by her trailer park management company.
Saylor has come to symbolize the battle between the old days when people were free, and the new days where everything is litigated in court and where “freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose” (the Janice Joplin lyrics from her song "Bobby McGee").

Do Americans have anything left to lose?
The mobile park where Saylor lives has a ban on drying your clothes out in public, in your backyard. If mobile homes even have a back yard. But according to the New York Times, Saylor is not alone. Turns out that in private communities -- places where an owner rents or leases out space for you to live -- the number one ban, among many, is one that prohibits the public drying of clothes on clothes lines outside of the home.

When I was young, I remember looking across our white picket fence and seeing dozens of backyards as far as the eye could see with clothes lines with damp clothes drying in the sun and waving in the breeze held only by wooden clothes pins. Most of the clothes were sheets, shirts and pants. But you'd see the occasional underwear and bras and private things like lingerie. But it's not the saucy aspect of the practice that has the owners of Saylor's trailer park up in arms against her. They just don't like the site of clothes hanging on a clothes line. It makes the neighborhood look, "trashy" maybe?
The world has changed a lot.

When I was young, our parents let us go trick-or-treating "until the street lights came on." These days, a child doesn't walk the street in daylight without a mother or parent closely monitoring them for tragedies like a child kidnapper, sexual predator or bullying by other students their age. And we're not talking just kindergarten. We're talking high school, too.

Some economists claim that you can save as much as 20 percent on your home energy bills by hanging the clothes out to dry rather than running them through the dryer. Everyone has a washer and a dryer these days. It's an expensive convenience, but isn't convenience supposed to be expensive?

Common sense should rule but common sense is going out the window. The clothes lines that Saylor put up were not like the old days when the line stretched from the back fence to the brick wall of the back of the house in several rows. Or from poll to poll -- many people actually had clothes line polls cemented in the backyard as permanent fixtures, a service they paid for just as they pay for dryers from Sears or now Costco.

Saylor has a unique system of squares that minimized the visual size of the drying process. It is kind of like a rectangular maze with inner lines of clothes drying. It made it all look so efficient.

Why not? Well, some think what Saylor’s doesn't look good.

I say the restrictions are all wet.

(Chicagoland Syndication. Ge information at 

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