If there’s anyone who has a finger on the pulse of Congress when it comes to drug policy reform, it’s probably Howard Wooldridge. LEAP’s cowboy-hat-wearing lobbyist has become a familiar figure in the Washington corridors. His LEAP on the Hill posts are always a delight to read.
He makes a strong and important point in an email:
The marijuana contingent of prohibition reform needs to do more outreach and education to the ‘unconverted’ and the uninformed. This will involve moving outside the comfort zone of a hemp fest ‘free the weed’ type meeting and into a Rotary or other such venue. LEAP can use all the help possible to educate the citizens. My wife wears a t-shirt that says: MOMS SAY LEGALIZE POT – Ask Me Why… in my 13 years I have never seen a MJ reformer wear a t-shirt that invites a discussion or even effectively advertises their position. A Shirt that just has MJ leaves on it or NORML is essentially worthless in converting a soccer mom or dad to our side.
Zogby poll shows that 3/4 of America knows the WOD is a failure. Congress knows it by that margin and Obama has called it an ‘utter failure.’ That said, the WOD was NOT an issue in 2008.
In order to end prohibition, dozens of Hill staffers have told me THE PHONE HAS TO RING with constituents insisting on moving legislation on this issue. And the phone is NOT ringing. Politicians are led by the people; they rarely are going to lead. They are mostly cowards by nature. Not one Member of Congress has put on their website a position on the war on drugs/prohibition. That needs to change. All the logic and reason in the world will not move Congress… only voices. Out of roughly 40 million users of illegal drugs, less than 100,000 belong to a drug reform org. We have much work to do in 2009.
This tracks closely with what I’ve talked about — change comes from the bottom, not the top. And we need to spread the word. Tell all your friends, and when they’re all convinced, widen your circle of friends and tell them. When you have all them convinced, convince them to all call their Representatives.
And, by the way, when is the last time you called your Representative?
We’ve got a lot of new ones this year, and both the new and the old need to hear from us — and not just the automated email blasts that come along every so often. Write a letter, call their staff. Be succinct. To the point. Don’t ask them to legalize marijuana — they can’t quite do that (states still have their own laws), but ask them to stop prosecuting medical marijuana patients, or to remove marijuana from Schedule 1, or to support sentencing reform, or to support study into alternatives to prohibition. Make it clear that you’re a voter and you care about these issues.
And more of you need to come out of the closet. I know you all can’t do it, but, quite frankly, lots of you probably can who think that you can’t.
I found the following comment left here regarding questions at change.gov quite strange:
I would probably submit the question “If drugs are so bad, can’t people choose not to do them without having to do so at gunpoint?”, if I thought that any government agency should have a record of my personal political positions. What are you people, fucking insane???
“Personal political positions” is kind of an oxymoron unless you live in a political world of one (Ã la Zaphod Beeblebrox in the Total Perspective Vortex). How do you fight for change if you won’t even tell people what needs to be changed?
Propaganda wins by making us afraid to speak.