Scared Tolerant

i was reading an article just now about the madness of the drug war: property being seized; whole families being murdered in their homes by crazed SWAT teams who come in shooting, often only on a “tip” from a paid informant; decent, caring palliative physicians sent away for life and losing their livelihoods even if they beat the charges - charges levelled by people who are neither doctors nor patients - the list of atrocities is endless. and i wonder how they can do it, and more importantly, how people can condone it. i can understand ignorant, bigotted thugs for whom “morality” is just a license to bully, signing on for this job with eyes wide open; but i think many people who condone the drug war just can’t comprehend its consequences, such as what it really means to “go to jail”: it’s not a square on a game board, it’s a *living hell* - and if they could come down from their ivory towers and smell the torture maybe they’d realise the justification just wasn’t there. some things do warrant punishment, but i think it’s our responsibility to understand the punishments to which we’re subjecting people before imposing them willy-nilly, so i think anyone who believes in sending others to prison for *any* reason - which is almost all of us - should have to spend at least one day there so they know what they’re saying when they say something should be illegal: you’re saying that people committing the offense in question *belong in jail*, and you need to have an intimate understanding of the reality that follows from that pronouncement before sounding off. it should be a requirement for citizenship: call it “scared tolerant”. ironically, this is the precise sort of practical sensibility/sensitivity imparted by smoking pot. it kind of puts life more at one’s fingertips and makes one more cognisant of the physical - ie: “actual” - realities of things: one sees life without the ideological blinders on, and i think this is the “social anxiety” it’s said to induce. the “anxiety” is simply the sudden onset of *awareness* of the cognitive dissonance of what’s become our “normal” reality. the very *surrealness* of it all. it makes you sane in an insane world - which would scare the fuck out of *anyone* - and it takes awhile to get dialed into that, but it’s worth the effort, because sanity is better than insanity. that was my experience with it at least. when i smoked, i’d get a rush of memories - an accounting, if you will - of all the fucked up things i’d done in the past but had forgotten about - comments i’d made, thoughts i’d had, stupid risks i’d taken - and i’d think, “FUCK!! what was i THINKING?!”, and make a mental note to be more careful/considerate in the future. pot doesn’t take you out of reality, it snaps you *into* it - and the prosecutors of the “War on Drugs” have left reality behind long ago. if *they* took a toke, they probably *would* need a padded room, because, with all the “moral” contrivances stripped away, the awareness of what they’ve done would drive them mad. but most average folks aren’t in that deep: they’re just decent people trying to do the right thing, and i think perhaps a little toke now and then might be just the prescription to help them see - to *understand* - the madness of what the leaders in whom they’ve placed their trust are doing in their name, and to realise - again, to understand - the part they play with their tax dollars, and their silence. and to the vocal supporters of the drug war - the “concerned parents” - i say: just imagine your child in prison: raped, beaten, mocked, discarded by society; or perhaps gunned down in your own home right before your eyes by stormtroopers who look more like machines than human beings. or imagine an elderly parent whose body is racked pain from some horrible disease, and unable to alleviate the pain because the only palliative physician left within 100 miles of your home - possibly the family doctor who’s cared for your family with competence and sensitivity all your lives - has just been arrested for “over prescribing”, his life ruined and his family indigent and bereft, and even if your stricken loved one *could* travel to another doctor, they’d find themselves blacklisted because they were a patient of the doctor who got arrested and were assumed to be an “addict”. then smoke a joint. i *dare* you. likely, what will happen is that you’ll remember every word of endorsement you ever uttered in support of the drug war, and will be *overcome with guilt*, and will want to crawl out of your skin to escape it, but will be unable to - that’s GOOD! - that anxiety means you’re getting SANER. and realise, after all of this, that were drugs legally available and subject to the same regualtion as alcohol or tobacco, your children would have less access to dangerous drugs than they do now, and that all the violence and injustice associated with both the illegal drug trade and the drug war itself would disappear overnight: your child alive and with you, your home safe from invasion, your loved one’s pain easily treated, your doctor’s life and livelihood restored, his family reunited. now, before the moment passes and you return to the state of denial that’s been sold to you as NORMALITY by moral crusaders who seek only to impose their views on others with complete disregard for the consequences of their actions (or worse still, with complete awareness of them), call your representatives and tell them how you *feel* about the drug war..
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Great article, Susan28! You're right on! So many well-intentioned people think somehow keeping it illegal is stopping people from hurting themselves. They don't think about the assault on civil rights (Just say No!), the innocents caught up, the degradation of society, the warped foreign policy with "narco-states", etc. I was glad to see a reporter ask one of the presidential candidates who is against "choice" whether he favored putting the women (who have an abortion) or the doctors in jail. Kinda puts it in perspective. There's a big diconnect between "there oughta be a law" & actually dragging people off to prison for making their own personal decisions.

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