This is America, and there are some things we hold sacred. Among them, life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and bottled water.
That's the stance taken by the Minnesota College Republicans, which yesterday protested the College of St. Benedict's ban on the sale of water bottles on campus. The young conservatives handed out bottles of water to passersby at the St. John's University campus -- the "brother" school to all-girls St. Ben's -- just to show those wacky liberal ladies how glorious bottled water can be.
St. Benedict's is the first college in Minnesota, and the ninth in the country, to enact such a ban. In the first week of school since the ban was in place, dozens of students were hospitalized for dehydration.
Actually, no, it seems to be going fine. To prepare for the ban, the school installed 31 "hydration stations," which is a rather elitist phrase for "faucets." Those cost the college about $20,000 to install -- or about $12,000 less than a single student's tuition to St. Benedict's.
The Minnesota College Republicans released statements in support of their protest, with state chairman Ryan Lyk explaining that it's wrong for a college to ban the sale of water bottles, just as it would be wrong for the government to ban the sale of water bottles -- which it did not, but, you know, if it did, that'd totally be wrong.
Meanwhile Kate Paul, a leader of the Minnesota College Republicans on the St. Ben's campus, said the "hydration stations" are a waste of money and an assault on consumer freedoms:
"The hydration stations not only cost us money to use," Paul said, "they are costing us our ability to choose and convenience that derives from choice."
There are no reports yet on how much the St. John's kids loved all that free plastic yesterday. But if anything, it seems more likely that they'll have a bottle water ban, then St. Ben's will give up its new policy. Consider this editorial that ran last week in the St. Benedict's student newspaper, "The Record."
The question we have is, why hasn't St. John's upgraded to hydration stations? Students love them, we at The Record love them--why can't we have them? The bookstore sells Camelback and Nalgene water bottles, so they certainly aren't hard to find. Just look at the math: we'll say a reusable water bottle costs $12. Compare that to the roughly $144 you would pay to buy a bottle of water each class day this academic year.Okay, so it actually saves the consumer money, it's better for the environment, people are happy about it... wait a minute, why hasn't Michele Bachmann put out a statement condemning this bottled water thing yet?