Morris: Confessions of an Anti-Straw Man

August 20, 2018

by Leo Morris

As a good conservative, I naturally start each day vowing to do everything I can to help destroy the planet.

I have never, ever recycled a single thing, since recycling is of course a Communist plot designed to divert our attention so our neglected landfills can be captured. I proudly display my “Nuke the whales!” bumper sticker. I bag up my leaves and other yard waste and transport it out and burn it in the county to do my part for air pollution. I hate to tell you the things I do to foul up the waterways.

Environmental destruction is the conservatives’ best weapon. Only when we have reduced the Earth to a stinking pile of barely inhabitable rubble can we successfully claim our rightful heritage and forever vanquish all the tree-hugging, flower-sniffing simpletons trying to hold back progress.

But I have a dilemma.

I just cannot use a straw, no matter how hard I try. It feels so unnatural sucking liquid up through a narrow cylinder instead of letting my lips gently caress the rim of a glass or cup the way God intended.

I think it’s probably a guy thing. In fact, I’m so sure of it that I think the straw test should be used to assess the validity of all transgenderism claims. Never mind the traditional tests of masculinity, such as having a strong attachment to the Three Stooges, and forget the usual signs of femininity, like putting so many stinking, useless pillows on the stinking bed. Someone who hardly ever uses a straw is a man and someone who almost always does is a woman, never mind all that silly “biological sex at birth” stuff.

And now the environmental justice warriors have declared the humble plastic straw the latest existential threat to the planet. Cities across the country are banning them, assessing hefty fines and even jail time for violators. The Allen County Department of Environmental Management has gotten into the act with a public service ad showing people using straws getting smacked in the face with fish. (Straws can end up in the rivers and seas, you know, and the fish don’t like it.)

Encountering blatant propaganda like this, proper conservatives must respond with solidarity, not only dutifully scorning the message but also behaving contrariwise en masse.

I have always been happy to do my part. Told that Chick-fil-A is run by a bunch of religious fanatics, I dutifully have lunch there, though a chicken sandwich is not my idea of culinary delight. I shop at Hobby Lobby just to irritate those who say it should be boycotted, though, God knows, I don’t have a single hobby. I even drink Yuengling just to show up those who want the company destroyed for supporting President Trump, despite the fact that I really don’t care for beer at all.

But I might have reached my limit. I don’t know if I can bring myself to suck liquid a little bit at a time through a narrow tube instead of taking big gulps, even for solidarity’s sake. It may just be, dare I say it, the last straw.

The whole thing is just so silly. Only about 1 percent of the plastic that reaches the oceans is from the United States, and only a tiny fraction of that 1 percent comes from straws. No matter how many straws end up in the landfill, they are exquisitely inconsequential. Why change my habits drastically to protest such a demonstrably trivial threat?

But the triviality is the very point, I’m sure my spiritual advisers would say. If we can get all worked up and bothered by plastic straws, we can be tormented over anything, and it will never end. This is the camel’s nose inside the tent.

I just can’t make myself care. Even if I could get over the unnatural feeling of using a straw, what if some of my comrades from the Army days were to see me? That camel can just stand there with its nose inside the tent, waiting for that straw that breaks its back.

Yes, I do realize – this is so hard to confess – that by refusing to use straws, I will be doing my part, however small, to save the planet.

But that’s my cross to bear.

Leo Morris, columnist for The Indiana Policy Review, is this year’s winner of the Hoosier Press Association’s award for Best Editorial Writer. Morris, as opinion editor of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, was named a finalist in editorial writing by the Pulitzer Prize committee. Contact him at


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