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January 2011
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Irrelevant

The President gave a speech tonight. I missed it, cause I was watching season four of my boxed set of Farscape DVDs.

However, I did a quick search of key words in the prepared text:

  • “Drug policy” – 0
  • “Drug war” – 0
  • “Marijuana” – 0
  • “Cannabis” – 0
  • “Hemp” – 0
  • “Cocaine” – 0
  • “Coca” – 0
  • “Heroin” – 0
  • “Legalization” – 0
  • “Decriminalization” – 0
  • “Prohibition” – 0
  • “Mexico” – 0
  • “Cartel” – 0
  • “Bolivia” – 0
  • “Prison” – 0
  • “Incarceration” – 0
  • “Mandatory minimums” – 0
  • “SWAT” – 0
  • “Drugs” – 1 (prescription drugs)
  • “Afghanistan” – 1 (no talk of drugs)
  • “Colombia” – 1 (trade)

Isn’t it nice to know that drug policy is such a small issue that it has no relevance to the state of the union?

Remember, the very last place to expect or look for action or even acknowledgment regarding drug policy reform is from the people who were gathered in the Capitol tonight.

It will come from you, from your friends, from your acquaintances, from you reaching out to ordinary people who will tell their friends.

A few days ago, I had a group of friends and acquaintances over to my house for a friendly gathering with good scotch and good cheese. At one point, I mentioned that I had some knowledge of drug policy, and for the next 30-40 minutes, we talked about the drug war. I told them about asset forfeiture and a host of other drug war atrocities, and they got angry. We still had a great time that evening, but there are now 10 more people who want to do something about this.

That’s how it’s done. Not by electing a President.

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27 comments to Irrelevant

  • Hope

    “We’ll change it. One person at a time. Across kitchen tables. In living rooms all over this country.” Me. To a cop in Memphis,many years ago, waiting on the drug dogs to get there to search my new car that was being coveted by the Memphis Police.

    Or ten people at a time! Even better. Good job.

  • Ed Dunkle

    Was Michelle Leonhart at the speech?

  • vicky vampire

    Pres. Obama I quess in my humble opinion finds
    Jailing medical marijuana patients OK.
    No knock Raids that sometimes end in death OK.
    Minorities which unfortunately usually are arrested over other groups OK.
    The evil of Asset Forfeiture OK.
    The continuing violence along the US Mexico border States OK.
    Need I go on.
    Oh and I know he does not have much respect the second Amendment at all either or the first. that’S another story for another day.

    I’m positive, Pres. Obama will Win another term will anything be done in regards to reschedule Cannabis, I’ll say a toss up, maybe, possibly,never.

    Oh shit I’m feel the government treats the really important stuff with such irrelevance and all non-nonsensical stuff with such importance HA HA duh folkS I know I being flippant and stating the obvious.

  • I kept hearing him mutter “except for you druggies” under his breath…

    ~ Tucson reminded us that no matter who we are or where we come from, each of us is a part of something greater… (except for you druggies)

    ~ We are part of the American family… (except for you druggies)

    ~ We believe that in a country where every race and faith and point of view can be found, we are still bound together as one people… (except for you druggies)

    Well anyway, you get my drift.

    • Cliff

      allan;

      I heard him say something about the making the US the best place in the world to do business. That explains a lot. At least he is being up front about letting his corporate cronies and their minions run the country, because they know business. Profits over people, behold, the road to neo-feudalism lies before us.

  • Nick

    Once again Pete, Accolades.

  • Pete, I feel ya. I spread the message every where I can.

    … It makes me no new friends.

    Talking to people at parties about politics is damn difficult to do. Congrats if you’re doing it in a charming way.

    • It can be tricky, fidelity. Part of it is to avoid preaching and stick to story-telling. People like good stories.

      It also helped me in this case that I had some of those wonderfully bizarre state drug tax stamps… I’ve got one of these, for example:

      Passing them around helped get the discussion going. Most in the room were unaware of that whole part of it.

      • Maria

        Pete’s totally right on that. Stories are vital. Stories are a step beyond anecdotes. Preaching turns people off, emotional preaching even more so. Even though it’s useful and has it’s place, appealing to logic or fact doesn’t always work. Neither does pointing out how stupid people are for worrying about their kids and drugs or drugged driving or whatever specific concern they have.

        Personally, I’m piss poor at recalling stats and numbers, and do OK with names and places. Dates? Forget about it. Details of bills, resolutions or cases? I can muddle but I won’t be convincing anyone with my gutter legalese. (BTW, I’ve always had terrible memory and concentration issues due to sever anxiety, even as a child. Mild Cannabis use helps with this.)

        But stories… Good stories are what keep people tuned in. Stories have a way of popping up in your thoughts when you least expect it, like a scene from a movie or book that you saw and read years ago. They linger. They dig in. They squat in our subconscious, gnawing at it.

        Fleshed out, rich and well told stories really do work. You don’t even need to embellish them. That’s the beauty, and tragedy, of the drug war. We all have them, we all experience them. Get to know them, tell them with soul, tell them with care. And then listen.

    • Cliff

      I have found that most times it helps to be an active listener to get a feel for the people who you are talking with. Where are they coming from? What is it about the drug war which scares or concerns them? When you show genuine concern for their feelings, they open up to your concerns. You can also begin to see convergences of concerns from both sides before you introduce your point.

      Also try to make it less about the drugs or drug use by pointing out that civil liberty and self ownership are the building blocks to a free society. This is something that most real conservatives are beginning to realize.

  • Chris

    http://stash.norml.org/ask-obama-top-100-questions-about-ending-drug-war-legalizing-marijuana

    “When you did this in 2010 you heard from us loud and clear about marijuana law reform. […] And you flat-out ignored us, despite those questions dominating in both quantity and popularity.

    When you did this in 2009 you got the same response from the public. That time you didn’t ignore us; you just laughed at us.”

    “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Gandhi

    Obama is doing this out of order, maybe we’ll win next?

  • Rory

    Civil Rights in the USA did not happen in the 1960s becuase a charismatic leader turned up in Washington and said to millions of people: ‘I have a dream.’

    It was done by years of hard work, talking to people; all this hard work then GOT THE MILLIONS of people to Washington in order to hear that leader in the first place.

    Im working hard to change our drug laws in the UK. And know this – ANY progress you make in the USA will help us make progress too. And vice versa.

    Good luck people – and keep up the good work.

  • Tony Aroma

    Hey now, be fair. The word “legalization” isn’t in the president’s vocabulary, so how could he be expected to use it in a speech.

  • kaptinemo

    And, I suppose that this is irrelevant, too:

    Bush White House Broke Elections Law, Report Says

    What ‘elections law’? Why, the Hatch Act, of course. The very same Hatch Act – meant to keep bureaucracies from using public resources to lobby pols for things the bureaus want – that ONDCP broke repeatedly during the Bush Too years. The violation of which drug law reformers have been screaming their heads off about for over a decade.

    The corrosive effects of this can be seen just in ONDCP operations and in the body politic in general. It makes a mockery of democracy…and a dangerous mockery, at that.

    No law is too sacred to be broken when it comes to ‘saaaaaaaving the chil-drennnnnnn!’ Especially when there’s so much money and political advantage to be made doing so…

  • Jake

    Doesn’t really feel like a democracy when a large demographic is ignored does it… then again I think that there isn’t really a ‘democracy’ in this world that has felt as such for a long time..

  • Sick........!

    Hey pete, farscape is far out and much better to watch than the same ol lies.

    I too have talked to many people about the drug war, changed many minds. Its amazing how many just dont know the truth of what is going on in this nation.

    Ya telling stories of true events is a good way of breaking into that conversation rather than going hard core on people….looking for good openers in others conversations works well too if they bite.

    It will be all of us..not elections…that will change things. Elections only keep the powerful in power and us where they want us.

  • darkcycle

    I don’t think I’ve actually encountered a person who thinks the drug war is a good idea in the last year or so. When I try to discuss the drug war, I usually find I’m preaching to the choir.

  • darkcycle

    Obama isn’t going to do anything about it, and he isn’t going to get a second term. He’s thrown the Left, which elected him, right under the bus (then he backed back over it, then forward again, then he drove off laughing). While he is courting the corporations and sucking up to the imaginary independents, his base has left him and is even now looking for a primary challenger. A move that will guarantee his loss in the general. The rich folks he’s hoping to attract will never accept him because of his color and background, and the corporations won’t support him because they can STILL get more of what they want from a Fascist Repugnican.

    • Duncan20903

      Kwitcher bellyaching. I’m still hoping that Gary Johnson somehow manages to get the Republitard nomination. Then I might even have to stop calling them ‘tards. I know, I know, I’m dreaming. No way a guy that makes that much sense can with the nomination is there. Heck, I’m not even certain that Mr. Obama might not try for the Republitard nomination in 2012 now that he’s established his bona fides as a party member. Really, all he needs to complete his ensemble is the (R) behind his name.

  • vicky vampire

    Maybe,your are right Darkcycle and Pres. Obama will not get second term.

    I did hear MS. Ann Coulter the other day remark that, republicans can and usually royally screw matters up, so badly,that I’m not that sure about the elections outcome.

    Also remember the American electorate is a bit fickle at times.

  • denmark

    Watched it. He ain’t my daddy, never will be. Not sure about the second term thing darkcycle, I have a nagging feeling in my gut that he’s going to get it because something significant will be proposed, done or suddenly transpire out of the blue. And the history repeating itself thing, most president’s get second terms.
    Now if Gary Johnson runs for Prez there may be a moment of hope.

    He did say parties come together, like that will happen?
    It’s getting really old, their fighting. Not a good example, maybe at one time to further the “debate” issue, but it’s not working now, it’s broken. The young Reps and Senators come in and have to basically obey the ones who have seniority over them. Unfortunately it’s these senior ones that are a big problem.

    Talk is cheap Obummer, heard that since I was a kid.

    Thanks for sharing your success story Pete.
    You are my stop the drug war hero for the day.

    • Duncan20903

      You mean like capturing Osama bin Laden? I’ve been predicting that will be his reelection rabbit for about 6 months now. I mean, it doesn’t really have to be Mr. bin Laden, just someone that looks like a terrorist right? It’s not like they’ll let him talk and say he’s not ObL anyway.

  • Servetus

    I’m not at all surprised Obama neglects drug war topics. The drug war is an utterly embarrassing catastrophe to any government attempting to put a positive spin on its performance in office. Nothing fails like drug prohibition. After all, would we fund NASA if the space agency had the same record of failure as the DEA? Probably not.

    Speaking one-on-one to people about the drug war takes advantage of an inherent trust people have in receiving information from people they are on good terms with and know well. Given that U.S. culture is a belief-culture, and not, as some may think, an information culture—that in practice it is anti-science and anti-intellectual; a bond of trust often must exist before a successful information transfer can take place, no matter how empirical and valid the information may be.

    A good description of belief-culture can be found in a recent Truthout piece by P. L. Thomas titled: Belief Culture: We Don’t Need No Education, which details the same types of obstacles encountered in the public discourse battles drug law reformers frequently face. In this case, prohibitionists appear to have the same sub-mindset as climate deniers.

  • Ned

    The right thing, civil rights, ground up reform isn’t going to end the drug war. It is too entrenched, it doesn’t directly affect enough powerful people negatively. To many voters fear and doubt the unknown landscape of a possible future legal drug world. Sufficient political pressure never quite develops sufficiently. When it comes to this, sufficient greatly exceeds 50%.

    Politicians respond primarily to money. Morals are way down the ladder. If Goldman Sachs and Wall Street were “pushing” hard for legalization for example, the whole thing would be different. I doubt anything will change in DC until legalization lobbyists are able to write checks for serious money. Otherwise it’s all just an endless sideshow of the policy makers swatting away the irritating activist flies armed with facts but no money. Saving money that isn’t yours pales compared to pocketing money for re-election and a plum private sector career reward.

    The cost/benefit calculation for politicians remains strongly against legalization. Both in terms of money and the “conventional” moral high ground at election time. Changing popular sentiment will not reverse it alone. As long as they think their monetary lifeline is tied to Prohibition, Prohibition is quite safe.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .
      Why in the world would a legal drug landscape be any different than the landscape when drugs were legal? You can get a copy of “The Hasheesh Eater” by Fitz Hugh Ludlow, published in 1857 for details on the landscape when cannabis was legal and popular in the US. It was such a non-problem that people today don’t seem aware that it was legal and popular.

      For cocaine, you can ask Sigmund Freud. Here’s what he told his girl friend: “I will kiss you quite red and feed you till you are plump. And if you are forward you shall see who is the stronger, a little girl who doesn’t eat enough or a big strong man with cocaine in his body. In my last serious depression I took cocaine again and a small dose lifted me to the heights in a wonderful fashion. I am just now collecting the literature for a song of praise to this magical substance.”

      http://www.historyhouse.com/in_history/cocaine/

      For heroin history when legal, call Bayer. They sold it as a cold remedy up until 1914.

  • You could not be more right on! Until “we the people” make a new “declaration of independence” from the chemical compunds forced upon us… things will never change! It begins with you and me! Hence the reason we are building a new community. The Sensi Social Network! It is get togethers like yours that we envision happening across the nation… We must all take responsibility and stand up for our civil liberties! This is how WE will end the war!

  • Duncan20903

    Not going to happen that way Cindy, stuff like that sounded good to me when I was young too. Trouble is people have been making such declarations and joining such networks for decades and it hasn’t accomplished squat while sneaking in their back door sure has moved us along very well. OK, you keep protesting out front if you want, it hasn’t hurt that I can tell.