Waging War on Americans

According to the FBI’s latest annual uniform crime report, the Bush Administration is doing a spectacular job in combating what is surely this nation’s number one problem- marijuana users. In fact, more people were arrested for marijuana offenses last year than at any time in this country’s history. Over 770,000 people were cited for marijuana related violations in 2004, but nearly 90% of them were charged only with possession. I don’t know about you, but I feel much safer knowing that the supply of sandwich baggies will now surely increase with these people off the streets.

When are Americans going to stand up and say enough already? According to those same reports, over 96 million Americans have tried marijuana at least once in their lifetime. That represents nearly a third of all people in this country. Of the 19.1 million regular users of illegal drugs, over 75% of those users choose marijuana as their drug of choice. Medical marijuana users notwithstanding (but currently prime targets for the Bush Justice Department), it would seem that marijuana is the drug of choice for a vast majority of people who would rather not drink alcohol for their weekend high. The simple fact of such widespread acceptance of what is basically a harmless intoxicant flies in the face of governmental attempts to eliminate the drug, which have been only marginally successful at best. In fact, studies show only a small decrease in usage among high school students since the beginning of the “Just Say No” and D.A.R.E. programs.

I have previously written about the drug war, its lunacy and wastefulness of people and tax dollars in my essay Ending the War on Drugs, but it bears repeating again. The War on Drugs is nothing more than a War on the American People, and not just those who use pot, but on all of us. Much of this increased enforcement is being done at the behest of the White House. It seems that tracking down pot smokers is of higher importance than tracking down terrorists like Osama bin Laden.

In study after study, marijuana has been shown to be less harmful than alcohol, tobacco, and even many legal prescription drugs. In fact, the FDA has approved prescription medication that has as its main ingredients a simulated form of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. The obvious hypocrisy of allowing those things to be legal while outlawing marijuana itself isn’t lost on most Americans either, who would rather see use decriminalized and treated than have smokers locked up. This war on pot serves only to create a criminal class where none should exist. It ties up precious tax dollars. It destroys honest, hard working people.

Legislators, for their part, are nothing more than cowards to allow this to continue unchecked. I have yet to hear of a single elected federal official even broach the subject of decriminalizing marijuana. Instead, they skirt the issue or march lockstep with the propaganda, claiming to fight for and protect Americans while allowing the feds to hunt down and lock up average, otherwise law abiding citizens.

The War on Drugs, especially the wrath against marijuana is a waste at so many levels it boggles the mind. Is this really the biggest problem we face today? If it isn’t, why are we wasting so much time and money to eradicate it? Decriminalization would save money and save lives. It would eliminate the black market trade, the gang turf wars, the illegal smuggling, overcrowded prisons; the list goes on and on.

Pro-Life or Pro-Birth?

It’s time to stop allowing the opponents of abortion to label themselves as pro-life. What they really are is pro-birth. They spend their time fighting over the rights of the unborn, the frozen embryo, and the sanctity of life inside the womb, yet turn around and gut social programs that would actually improve the lives of the very people they say they are fighting for. Talk about another case of speaking out of ones rear end.

Pro-birth advocates use religion as the main basis in their arguments against abortion, but when religion is turned back on them regarding the social responsibilities of society in general, they balk at the chance to be consistent in their beliefs. Pro-birth advocates are less about saving and improving the quality of life than they are interested in controlling the behavior of everyone with a penis or vagina. Their aim is not to protect and increase the quality of life, something that the term “Pro-Life” alludes to, but instead they seek to force a religious point of view, specifically their own, on to the rest of the world around them. Curiously enough, abortion statistics show that those of faith are just a likely to have an abortion as those without faith, and Catholics, who are staunchly anti-abortion (at least according to official doctrine) receive over 30% of abortions in a given year.

A true Pro-Life stance would include promoting a social atmosphere that provided accurate information about the cause of pregnancy without all the scare tactics of abstinence only programs. A Pro-Life stance would seek to make access to health care and education more important than punishing a poor, single woman and an unborn child to a lifetime of poverty for an error in judgment or poor planning. Pro-Life should mean working to improve quality of life for the living, defending the freedom of the living, and promoting the welfare of the living. Pro-Birth, on the other hand, cares only about making sure people are born and cares nothing for the circumstances they may be born into.

How many conservative “Pro-Lifers” are taking in the children who would otherwise be aborted? How many abortion protestors are offering to adopt and pay for the pre-natal care of young pregnant women? The answer is few, very few. Instead, these Pro-Birth advocates seek to make it more difficult for people to prevent pregnancy in the first place, as is evidenced by the this administrations refusal to let the FDA pass the Plan B morning after pill that could preclude any need for abortions at all. They go so far as to bemoan the recently discovered vaccine that prevents cervical cancer at a rate of 100% because it will diminish their arsenal in their abstinence only endeavors. (Abstinence only classes are quite the joke anyhow. Telling people with raging hormones not to have sex at any cost while they live in a society that is agog with sexual innuendo and imagery is like throwing a dead horse in a hungry lion’s cage and telling him not to eat. Guess what happens?)

For all their talk of activist judges and the rule of law, the conservative anti-abortion foes can’t accept the fact the abortion freedom IS the law of the land and has been for over 25 years. The fact that they continually seek to have these laws overturned shows again their own hypocrisy, since it is now them who seek to install activist judges who would re-legislate from the bench. For more thoughts on this, read my previous post, The Abortion Debate.

Like the War on Drugs, the abortion debate is nothing more than a smokescreen devised to demonize portions of the population while distracting the American people from the fact the their government is corrupt, uncaring, and unequal to the promise of freedom and democracy.