You may have to watch your mouth in Middleborough, Massachusetts pretty soon. A new bylaw was passed at a town meeting there two weeks ago would let police slap you with a $20 fine for public swearing, the Associated Press reports.
But the unusual ordinance has some people frickin' mad, enough so that several dozen of them held a protest rally Monday in front of the town hall. Naturally the rally itself was heavy on the swearing, presumably to make the point of just how silly it is to formally ban expletives from public utterance. Protestors shouted curse words and held up profanity-filled signs in support of free speech.
It's probably safe to say that while there may have been some momentarily embarrassed ears as a result, nobody's quality of life was permanently damaged by a bunch of words that everybody's heard for most of their lives anyway.
Putting quarters in a "swear jar" at home to keep yourself from cursing in front of the kids is fine, but this is taking things a bit too far. In a country where you're free to publicly criticize your government and pretty much anything else you want, you should be free to let a few four-letter words fly when the mood strikes without forking over 20 bucks for it. A little decorum in public is nice, of course, but actually fining folks for public swearing is, well, a whole lot of bull.
Oddly enough, the rally also drew some supporters of the bylaw, which apparently passed overwhelmingly. Don't worry, though, you can still curse to your heart's content in Middleborough for the time being. Police aren't going to pass out any tickets while the state attorney general looks into whether the bylaw is unconstitutional.
Darn right it is!