So it took the Jeopardy TV Game show to once again highlight the absurdity of the blue laws that still exist only in Bergen County. It was not surprising that no one on the panel could respond correctly to what the blue laws mean since the mandate promulgated in the 1600s on blue paper in colonial times is no longer relevant to anyone’s lives. The very fact that all the other counties in the United States have abolished those laws is testament that the laws are no longer applicable.
In spite of liquor, food and other limited products that have evolved as acceptable to be sold on Sunday in the area, it is very distasteful to perpetuate banning the sale of all other items such as clothing on that day as if it is a criminal offense. Ever go to Costco on a Sunday? The parking lot is packed with people who yearn to shop, yet many aisles such as clothing aisles are offensively roped off due to the ban. On a Sunday, the consumer is forced to travel outside the area while expending extra time, energy and gas to go elsewhere. The extra revenue that can be reaped for our local coffers would be helpful to offset our escalating property taxes as well.
Over time, many core issues have been changed and adapted to improve our quality of life to reflect our changing needs; whether it be suffrage, civil rights or same-sex marriages, society is constantly in a state of flux and improvement to better living conditions. I find it so distasteful that due to the strong opinions of those who want to uphold and perpetuate the law, they have the influence to pervade and shadow other opinions as if they shouldn’t exist.
I challenge our legislators to do the right thing and propose voting on a local option to abolish the law based on the individual towns. It is concerning that the law was put to a vote on a referendum many decades ago without any recent opportunity to revisit the changing needs of our society.
One may question whether blue laws are still constitutional altogether, but I choose to just appeal to all to allow for another vote to revisit popular opinion. It’s high time to exercise our democratic rights, freedoms and individual opinions of whether the blue laws are still warranted and relevant. Now, isn’t that what democracy is all about?