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Monday, October 3, 2011

The Song In My Head

  How many of you smoke marijuana? It's kind of a rhetorical question; I'm not doing a survey, but chances are that you or someone you know uses grass to cope with pain or simply relax after a hard day's work.

  I smoke pot. I'll admit it to all of you. I don't smoke a ton of it, and sometimes I eat it. The weed that foreign governments have executed people for possessing doesn't harm me one bit, but helps me tolerate tremendous pain that has resulted from far too many untreated or poorly treated injuries and some not-so-fine genes. Additionally, it does help me unwind, and when I'm calm, I'm at my creative best. 

  When I was a kid, there was a cop who would come to our school to educate us on the supposed dangers of mind-altering substances. He held up a display case of pouches which contained all of the various things we were supposed to be afraid of. There was LSD and crack cocaine and Quaaludes out there for all of the kids to see, with the urging that one should rat out anyone who may possess them. And also displayed were the various cannabis products - grass, oil, and hash- all lumped in with the hard drugs that would surely cause you to turn into a schizophrenic or worse. Some kids giggled and others were truly terrified, but the message got across that drugs- all drugs- were very, very bad.

  Later on that day, when I went home, the phone rang. The voice on the other end of the line said that my mum and stepdad has been arrested for marijuana possession and that I was going to be picked up and everything. Needless to say, 10 year old me was scared shitless. As it turns out, the call was a prank orchestrated by my eldest sister Una. This was a decade or so before the invention of call display and her buddy had called from a payphone. So, I learned two lessons: First, drugs are very, very bad and, secondly, my sister is a sadistic asshole. 

  As it turns out, my parents did indeed smoke grass. My mum was a mechanic and my stepdad an electrician. They were normal taxpayers who smoked herb. And they weren't the only ones. A lot of grownups got together to smoke and bullshit and went back to their jobs doing average everyday things.
And despite all of the tax money wasted on law enforcement, incarceration, and ridiculous propaganda, they still do. Everyone from tired construction workers to the parkinsonian elderly enjoy the bit of relief brought by a weed that has been used medicinally for thousands of years. All of the fear of old has been replaced by an educated public that ranges from college kids to octogenarians who'd rather have a spliff over a scotch and who would like to see government money spent on  apprehending and prosecuting society's true meanies, particularly in these lean economic times. 

  In an age of supposed fiscal conservatism, Prime Minister Harper not only wants to stop attempts to legalize marijuana, but thinks his american buddies will admire harsher penalties for even simple possession. Under the new Omnibus Crime Bill, an AIDS patient who grows pot will spend more time in jail than a child molester, the cost of a pardon will quadruple, and mandatory minimums will handcuff judges and send people away for long sentences in prisons designed for violent offenders. What's more, Canada's facilities are already so beyond capacity that the Elizabeth Fry Society says they violate Charter rules regarding cruel punishment. It should also be noted that, while crime rates are at an historic low, the cost of Corrections Canada has more than doubled since Harper took power 5 years ago. And the tab could get high enough to bankrupt the country.

But Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and his parade of merry big-government Conservatives aren't simply content with tossing granny in the clink, but they seek new powers of Internet surveillance, citizen's arrests, and other grotesque violations of personal freedoms. Yes, if the Big Nick has his way, I could have my home searched simply for writing this post. I'll likely be arrested and incarcerated in one of those privately-run hellholes that you just know Harper is dying to build with taxpayer money. He'll get full blessing from big liquor who'll figure that fear of jail will get us all back to good old booze.

Big-government Conservatism is just as ridiculous as it sounds. It's oppression that's bought and paid for by corporations and their front groups. It uses fear and moral indignation to try and create a mindless, homogenized culture that locks up those who refuse to be subjugated. The new crime bill is not about punishing society's most brutal beings, but terrifying anyone left of completely batshit into submission.

Right now, we're seeing big government crush not only America's liberties, but her economy. Due to ridiculous laws and minimums, there are simply not enough incoming dollars to cover the tab. Penal institutions were never designed to be businesses, and the middlemen-from-hell that run them must be paid, giving worse conditions for more dollars spent.

There's an adage that stupidity is defined by repeating a mistake with the expectation of different results. The Conservative Party of Canada has a front-row seat to the big government shitshow going on down south, yet seem perilously determined to mimic the policies that have turned individual liberties into collective catastrophes.

Legalize It by Peter Tosh. Buy it legally HERE

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