All the news coverage of the various congressional hearings going on have reminded me of a funny scenario I once envisioned. The thought came about after a conversation I had with a couple of the local dope boys. I had overheard them complaining about being harassed by Five-O and I just couldn't resist pointing out how I thought that Five-O was what kept them in business. As you might expect, they were anxious for me to explain.
I was referring, of course, to the criminal justice system and it's anti-drug laws. I told them that, if it weren't for the fact that what they worked so hard to sell was illegal, people much better equipped to do the job would step in and put them out of business. I asked them if they honestly thought that they would be able to compete with the research, marketing and distribution capabilities of companies like Merck, Pfizer, Walgreen's and CVS. And, as you might again expect, I was told that I was crazy because The Man will never legalize drugs.
They're probably right, but that's where the funny scenario comes in. What would happen if drugs WERE legalized? I can still see it so clearly in my mind. The congressional elite arrayed in all their pompous grandeur to hear the pleas of those representing the now defunct illegal drug industry. The lead character on that side would have to be the angry, die-hard, anti-drug senator who arranged for these hearings in the desperate hope of restoring order to the land, along with the highly photogenic, caught-in-the-stall-naked, look on his face when he spies those about to testify filing in during his well-flowered opening speech. Whew!
And what a group of unlucky losers those giving testimony would be. Ranging all the way from the lowly dope boys up to the filthy-rich cartel magnates, all decked-out in their Hollywood cliche garb and bling-bling. Of course, the cartel magnates would have come in their Lear Jets and Hummers, the regional distributors in their Navigators and Escalades, leaving the dope boys to use mass transit because they were unwilling to sell their bling to pay for anything better.
The dope boys would, of course, complain about how they're losing out on all the free sex by now having to pay the crack, heroin and meth whores in real money that they don't have the skills to earn. They would complain about financial distress due to their not having the drugs to trade for all the (mostly stolen) video games, cell phones, television sets, and stereo equipment. They would even have with them representative re-sellers of the fore-mentioned ill-gotten goods to complain about their now shrunken markets.
They'd bemoan the loss of their industry standard rings, chains, teeth, clothing, and automobiles. And they wouldn't forget to mention how much they miss the free housing they got from those stupid enough to think that a few hits now and again made their presence worthwhile. "Foul!" they'd cry, for the loss of all the things they'd become accustomed to as 'fair market retailers' in the illegal drug economy.
Those higher on this now extinct food chain would, not surprisingly, have arguments more in line with their former lofty positions. Through their high-powered and highly paid mouth-pieces, they would point to possible anti-trust issues related to the 'denial' of their 'rightfully earned' share in the new legalized drug industry.
In spite of the fact that they're now free from prosecution for their past activities and could keep their ill-gotten wealth, they would argue that because of their huge 'investment' in developing the 'market' for drugs in the first place, as well as in 'procuring' the raw materials to meet that 'need,' it would be down right unfair to bar them from participating in the newly expanded legitimate market and for their production facilities around the world to be returned for legitimate use by the impoverished peoples from whom they were originally stolen.
I hope you think that's as insanely funny as I do. I would dearly love to see someone with the proper cojones for the job, like Dave Chappelle or Carlos Mencia, set such a scenario before the cameras. The question is though, is drug legalization really such an insane idea? The fact is that throughout history humans have used mood altering substances to achieve the illusion of relief from the burdens of life. It's also a fact that, despite the $10,000,000 per day cost (ABC 20/20) of the so-called 'war on drugs,' we now have an arguably worse 'drug abuse' situation than ever before.
The inescapable reality is that until we evolve to a mentality better able to deal with the hardships of life, people will continue seek relief where they can get it. I expect that, as past history shows, this will be especially true now that our prospects for 'the good life' have taken a serious nose dive. And I defy anyone to point out the 'enlightened' and 'evolved' aspects of the tactics used under our government's current approach to the problem.
Now I must make it perfectly clear that, in spite of living in a society where we're constantly bombarded with ads showing drugs as the cure for almost anything, and at the same time news that we can't trust the so-called experts, I Do Not Personally Advocate The Use Of Drugs To Fix Anything.
While I continue to take my psychiatric medications in an effort to limit those embarrassing crying jags and my somewhat morbid fascination with suicide, I can't honestly say that they work any better than anything that I haven't tried. They certainly don't fill my need for stimulation and, quite frankly, even the prodigious amounts of coffee I drink fall short of that. As far as the illegal drugs I have used, my life and current situation are perhaps the most clear testimony to the futility of going down that road.
But drug abuse is not the real problem and everyone knows it. If seeking chemical solace is really so terrible, then why don't we ban it in every form? The real problem is our need for such solace. And fear of punishment, no matter how terrible, will never exorcise a demon like that. And just as I wouldn't choose some unregulated quack to deal with my depression, diabetes and arthritis, those who simply need to feel good for a little while shouldn't be forced to scurry around in the darkest of places to deal with some street hustler. Not when his local Walgreen's could be fully stocked with well tested and well regulated pharmaceuticals designed just for that purpose.
It's time to get real people. Just as any good minister will tell you that it's the sinners who must be welcomed into the church, I say that a civilization that won't embrace it's troubled and broken citizens is not 'civilized' at all. And just as in the natural world the most weird and dangerous things grow where they're isolated, we have allowed a sub-culture every bit as alien and monstrous to fester and grow right over the shoulders we find so easy to turn away. Perhaps it's 'love' and not 'war' that's the answer after all.
Lastly I must make it clear that, although I do still suffer the occasional lapse, I Never post anything to this blog that I wrote while 'under the influence.' I hope my detractors will not be too terribly disappointed to hear that. You see, this blog is a kind of therapy for me. My hope is that by striving for clarity of expression I will improve my clarity of thought. And it is working better than I would have ever believed possible. So not only would posting something that I wrote while I was high be counter-productive, it would feel almost sacrilegious.
I want ice water.