Look, Folks! Another Federal Abuse of Power
Posted by honestpoet on January 21, 2007
To anyone who’s been checking, hoping for new entries, my apologies for being away so long, unannounced. I’ve been using my neurons doing gardening things, and parenting things, and wifely things, as well as making progress with my flute. But I had to come in here and bitch a little about the feds’ absolutely out-of-hand breach of states’ rights recently in their crackdown on medical marijuana clinics in California, Oregon, and Utah. Here’s what the jackass in charge had to say about it:
“Today’s enforcement operations show that these establishments are nothing more than drug-trafficking organizations bringing criminal activities to our neighborhoods and drugs near our children and schools,” said Ralph W. Partridge, head of the DEA in Los Angeles.
This guy’s obviously able to completely disconnect himself from reality.
Outrageous. Yeah, this is what we need to be doing, harassing doctors, nurses, and patients. We’re going bankrupt as a nation, fighting terrorism, which, let’s face it, IS a very bad thing (why we ignored our neighbors’ struggle with it, and even fostered it in some places, is another question I’ll leave for now); we simply can’t afford to keep fighting this ludicrous “war” on drugs. Which is actually a war against drug users. And which is totally outside the scope of government.
Some of the statements in the news story and in the discussions online about this make clear that some citizens feel the government HAS to enforce the drug laws BECAUSE they’re the law (clearly people who got stuck at phase 4 in Nielsen’s theory of moral development…you know, that we-can’t-break-the-law-or-the-universe-will-unravel thing). Well, we can change the law. Duh.
I’m not going to argue here about how harmless marijuana is relative to the two legal intoxicants, tobacco & alcohol. There’ve been plenty of excellent arguments made by folks with better scientific credentials than mine for why marijuana should be relegalized. I want to talk about the historical view, which almost always gives a better picture. It’s like stepping away from a painting, or looking down at a city from a tall building. You’d think the guys in charge might try it sometime. But that would involve reading. Oh, I’d forgotten.
I do not understand the disconnect from reality that our government seems to experience. Like Lewis Black says in a bit, it’s like these guys take a big dump on the floor right in front of us and then turn around and insist it’s fertilizer.
Here’s my analysis, after having read and cogitated on this problem for the past 15 years: it’s time to reverse the mistake made last century, when the intoxicant favored by blacks and Mexicans was made illegal in order to give the officers who’d been fighting (again, mistakenly) to keep Americans from drinking alcohol during Prohibition something to do. All that’s happened is the creation of a monstrous and vicious black market, just like the Prohibition did with the mafia. If it hadn’t been for the leg-up organized crime got with that, our country would be a lot more peaceful and less corrupt than it is now. And now the black market in heroin, which is killing so many of us, is funneling money to the Taliban. And all those potential tax dollars are going down the drain, along with the money spent on enforcing this corrupt and inane law.
And that brings us to one of the issues that needs to be dealt with in any discussion about the relegalization of weed. A very large reason why the law hasn’t been changed is that there are too many people making a living off the status quo. Not only the drug dealers and the DEA agents, and myriad police precincts, and privatized prisons, but there’s even an entire industry surrounding drug testing, both the manufacturers of and the lab techs doing the tests, and the folks who make stuff to help users pass them. And then there are the pharmaceutical companies who make a killing selling us toxic medications that treat poorly what marijuana treats well, and gently. It’s an outrageous amount of money we’re talking about. But that’s too bad. Folks had a lot of money invested in the status quo surrounding slavery, too, but that didn’t make it right, and when it was time to change, change came, no matter how much some didn’t want it. These guys can adapt and do something useful or they can be burned off like the parasites they are.
I just hope that we don’t end up at war with each other, like over another states’-rights issue. I do know that there are plenty who are going to continue to oppose the government over this. I’m one of them. And I also know that the government can ill afford to continue to blow our money on something so stupid when we’re fighting a real enemy, at home and abroad.
The citizens of California, Utah and Oregon had the sense and the compassion to pass laws allowing those in need to use marijuana. The feds have no business going against the people’s will on this.
Another thing: America is supposed to be a beacon of freedom. How can they spout that rhetoric and then jail so many of our citizens for non-violent drug offenses? Hardly the land of the free, as far as I can see. It seems like we ought to be doing our best to distinguish ourselves from tyrannical dictatorships. Instead we seem to be moving further and further in the direction of fascism.