Here’s a rant I’ve never published because, well, it really ain’t funny. So I’m posting it here. That’s what this blog is for, right?
Seriously, folks, Iâ€™m not sure how much sheer idiocy this country can stand, but Iâ€™m afraid weâ€™re going to find out. Here are some true facts about the United States of America.
Â· We call ourselves, with pride, the land of the free.
o We have a greater percentage of our citizens in jail than any other country. More even than Joe Stalin locked away.
o Weâ€™re free, so long as we donâ€™t smoke the wrong weeds, or buy unlicensed drugs, or donâ€™t commit the horrible crime of being poor.
Â· We recite the words â€œand justice for allâ€ every day, or at least make our children do it in school.
o If you like your cocaine pure, youâ€™ll get a slap on the wrist if youâ€™re caught. Chances are youâ€™ve got money, too, because that stuff is expensive.
o If you like crack cocaine because itâ€™s cheap and you can afford it, if youâ€™re caught youâ€™re looking at some hard time. (Try not to be poor if you can help it.)
o If youâ€™re accused of dealing illegal drugs, your property can be seized and sold and the money given to law enforcement. If youâ€™re subsequently acquitted, thatâ€™s too bad for you because they donâ€™t have to give you back a thing.
Again, look at that set of idiocies. Come on, folks, are you worried about possible erosion of personal liberties due to the threat of terrorism? Well, you should be, because the last point above sounds like a form of terrorism to me. The trouble with all that stuff is that I thought we were supposed to be better than all that. Weâ€™re supposed to be an informed electorate too, but just look at whatâ€™s happening.
A judge in Alabama gets fired because he violated a Federal court order. He immediately rants on about the â€œbiblical foundation for our lawsâ€ and vows that the â€œfight is just beginning.â€ If only that were the case. If you can handle it, hereâ€™s the truth.
The people who framed our constitution mentioned god quite a bit, but not once in that document. They didnâ€™t think of themselves as Christians at all, in fact. They were, in their own words, â€œRational Deists.â€ They called god the â€œPrimum Mobileâ€ or â€œPrime Moverâ€ (I suppose the Latin version sounds more intellectual) and believed that once the universe was all set up and put into motion, the creator no longer intervened, but just sat back to see how his invention worked. They had Christian backgrounds, for sure, but I donâ€™t think that a disinterested creator is what Focus on the Family preaches about.
The thing is, our constitution was, to quote the preamble, â€œordain(ed) and establish(ed)â€ by â€œWe the People of the United States of America.â€ See, we did it ourselves. Sure, they invoked the creatorâ€™s guidance (without much hope of receiving it, to judge by their theology) but it was â€œPeopleâ€ who wrote our government. Thatâ€™s why we have so many lawyers, folks. With no divine mandate for our government, no holy book telling us what to believe, itâ€™s up to us, the spiritual descendants of Adams, Jefferson et al to interpret what that document means. If thatâ€™s not to your liking, may I suggest a nation with an established religion and a government that rules, they say, by divine right. Great Britain, for example, where the Queenâ€™s motto is â€œGod and My Rightâ€, in French of course.
Oh, yes, we fought to be independent from them, didnâ€™t we? Why do you suppose we did that? To get away from divinely sanctioned government, among other things. Itâ€™s a tragedy that the world doesnâ€™t conform to our idealistic views of what it should be, but it doesnâ€™t. Itâ€™s tragic that other people donâ€™t see the wisdom of our beliefs, but they donâ€™t. They wonâ€™t. Why should they? Theyâ€™ve got wonderful beliefs of their own, and to them itâ€™s tragic that we donâ€™t see the wisdom in their world view. What weâ€™ve got, that nobody else ever had before we got it, is a set of shared rules of, by, and for us humans. God, whatever you see that as being, may be the best thing in the universe. May be the universe for all I know, but no god wrote our constitution. OK?
I think that the entire war on drugs is probably a crock. But, if weâ€™re going to enforce drug laws, why not apply them fairly? Iâ€™ll bet a lot of people donâ€™t know how drugs got to be illegal in the first place. Hereâ€™s some more true facts, then.
Opium was a favorite drug among Chinese immigrants. The anti-opium laws were marketed as a means to keep the yellow menace â€œunder control.â€ I wish I was making that up, or at least exaggerating, but itâ€™s simply the truth. Newspaper editorials of the time referred to the Chinese as â€œthe yellow menace.â€ I like to remember that while Iâ€™m eating my sweet and sour chicken.
Cocaine was sold as a danger to society after some poor black guy went crazy and killed a bunch of people. He was using cocaine at the time, so of course we had to outlaw cocaine to protect â€œour negro citizensâ€ as some people were referred to at the time. From what I donâ€™t know, but to this day the poor black guy smoking crack gets hard time, while the white so-and-so movie star snorting the regular stuff gets put into rehab. Nice how things get better, isnâ€™t it?
That leaves marijuana as the last of the original illegal substances to be made such. Marijuana is a Mexican term for hemp leaves. It means, as if you didnâ€™t know, Mary Jane. Why Mary Jane I have no idea. But, again, there was a dire threat posed to our society by a group of people who liked to smoke a bit of the stuff. Guess who that was? (Save yourself time â€“ guess Latino migrants.)
Now, we have a situation where, in apparent defiance of the constitution we wrote, someone suspected of selling any of the above or one of another illegal drugs can have his property seized without compensation. We have a multi-billion dollar industry devoted to imprisoning record numbers of our fellow citizens. Itâ€™s hard to see how the war against terrorism can erode that many more rights, but Iâ€™m sure the people behind it will try to find a way.
By the way, we also execute a lot more people than any other country. Killing people to solve problems: a proven way to get ahead. Just ask Joe Stalin, or that Hitler guy. Fine examples for the new America, apparently.