This November Californians will vote on the future of this country. That’s right, the future of America. And it starts right here in California with the marijuana vote. Proposition 19 represents more than a misguided effort to decriminalize “casual” users and make a little money for cash-strapped California. This is ultimately an ideological struggle between one way of life, represented by all that’s good in America, and another way of life that has already torn our neighbor asunder and stands poised to destroy us from within. And it all comes down to whether voters think legalizing marijuana is a good idea or a bad idea.
We’ve all heard both sides of the debate. The War on Drugs is a failure. Legalizing pot can generate millions in needed revenue and eradicate drug trade violence. It eases the pain of terminal disease sufferers, and besides, weed isn’t half as bad as alcohol and tobacco. Look how many people booze and cigarettes kill, right? Opponents of the measure claim marijuana is actually more cancerous than tobacco, drug dealers will still have a market to minors, and that violence reduction will be minimal.
I’m going to present what should be the only argument for never legalizing marijuana or any other illegal drug for that matter—our children. And here’s the litmus test—would you want your kids smoking legalized weed?
Marijuana kills drive and destroys ambition, plain and simple. It zaps the zest for academic achievement and getting a job right out of a kid. Marijuana will make you do self-destructive things by impairing your judgment. It will inhibit your ability to be respectful and responsible. It will interfere with your desire to be a good son, daughter, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife, because you will no longer care about providing, being thoughtful, taking care of yourself, or making money (except to support your pot craving). You will also believe you can drive safely while under the influence of pot.
Does this make legalizing marijuana sound like a good idea?
If you’re a privileged teen from a good home, become a long-term pot smoker and at best, you’ll be a lazy, overweight, disappointment who’s financially supported by your parents for a while, until the marijuana exacerbates whatever underlying personality disorders you have. Then you’ll have your first mental health break, usually during your freshman year of college, if you even make it to college. You will drop out, move back home, and spend the rest of your days in and out of psychotherapy, becoming a burden to your family and to society. And your parents, being too naïve to put two and two together regarding the marijuana usage, will spend the rest of their days wondering where they went wrong, while waxing poetic about how they saved California’s economy by voting to legalize pot.
Now, picture if you will, an at-risk youth from a low, socio-economic neighborhood in Any City, USA. Throw in a non-existent or incarcerated father, a harder drug-addicted mother with a violence-prone boyfriend, street gangs shooting at each other outside, classmates waiting to assault you as you walk to and from school, sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, neuro-psychological issues like autism, ADHD, PTSD, Bi-Polar Disorder and let this kid get his hands on marijuana.
Still think legalizing marijuana’s a good idea?
It’s easy to preach about the benefits of a nightly, pre-coital marijuana joint, when you’re a privileged, self-absorbed, rich Hollywood type sitting pretty in your multi-million dollar home, or a childless, lefty hipster sneering at conservative American values or anything smacking of “Reagan-Bush.” Most of the Hollywood celebrities, rappers, and star athletes promoting marijuana usage are just mental health cases with money. They are just lucky (most of the time) to have sober “handlers” (assistants, agents, etc.) to keep them out of trouble, jail, or the psych hospitals.
But what if you don’t have money or a clean and sober sycophant looking out for you? What if you’re a poor kid from the inner city, self-medicating with pot because you just can’t bear the misery of your existence: no role models, no education, no jobs, no money, no self-worth, no self-respect, no hope, and no future? Now this kid is high on pot, with nothing to live for, and his buddy hands him a gun and says let’s go rob someone.
Legalize marijuana and drug dealers will still thrive, preying on children and teens. There will still be drug-related violence. The Mexican cartels will just tweak their operation a little and the war will continue. All the so-called taxes that you hoped to raise from the “legalized” pot (which won’t be nearly as good as the still “illegal” pot peddled by the dope dealers, who will of course branch out into the “legalized” pot business, pushing out the licensed dispensaries), will have to be spent on mental health, homeless, and joblessness benefits incurred by the drug users, as well as other medical and social services. Are you willing to explain all of this to your children, when they ask what went wrong?
The problem isn’t that the War on Drugs is a failure. You see, law enforcement held up their end of the war. They did their part. WE did not do our part. Parents, who should have raised their children with good morals, values, and behavior, so that their kids did not want to take drugs or involve themselves in criminal activity, did not do their part. Peers, teachers, coaches, and clergy, who should have continued reinforcing what the parents should have instilled, did not do their part. Academics, activists, journalists, sociologists, politicians, and the media, who should have supported law enforcement and the other pillars of the home front in strengthening family values and maintaining the positive fabric of our society instead of promoting divisiveness, victimization, race-identity politics, materialism, sex, violence, and tabloid journalism, did not do their part.
If every one of us had done our jobs properly, law enforcement and the courts would be just one successful spoke in a wheel of societal success stories involving education, empowerment, employment, leadership, and drug and alcohol treatment. But no, we all wanted to sit back and wallow in collective bad behavior, and then point at law enforcement, as if they were the only group that should have been tasked with waging a war on drugs, and blame them for the failure, as if they were supposed to play hand maiden to us all and raise our kids for us while interdicting drug smugglers.
All of us holding up our end of the bargain in the war on drugs would have required politicians and community leaders to tell parents that they were messed up! And that wouldn’t have got them re-elected. It would have required public school administrators and school board members to tell parents that the problem was at home, with them, and how they had failed in raising their children with good behavior and decent values, and not with teachers, and that wouldn’t have got them funding for their schools. It would have required greedy, sex and drug-obsessed CEOs, Hollywood celebrities, sports figures, musicians and rap stars to look in the mirror, and realize that they were part of the problem, and that wouldn’t have been good for business.
And it would have required doctors, scientists, professors, community advocates, you, me, all of us parents and citizens—people who should have known better—to say enough! Drugs are horrible. They ruin lives. They destroy our children. They tear up the fabric of our community, our neighborhoods, and just make all of society’s ills that much worse. It would have required us all to stand up and say that we’re no longer going to tolerate or celebrate law violators, criminality, illegal immigration, bad behavior, hate speech, flag-desecration, anti-Americanism, insidious teachers and college professors who preach anti-Christian “secularism,” socialism, and race-identity politics, and any others that would degrade our values, and that would have been politically incorrect.
I get that so many of our underprivileged youth are smoking pot, and that minorities seem to get hit the hardest with marijuana enforcement action. So the answer is to “decriminalize” their bad behavior instead of helping them to see a better way? Okay, sure. Legalize marijuana. Why not? Heck, all of our young people and our poor “oppressed classes” are doing it. At least maybe we can decriminalize them so they can “get jobs.” And some day, when enough kids are committing petty theft, we’ll say, aw, heck, let’s legalize petty theft, otherwise all of our kids will be criminalized even further. And some day, we might just tolerate the forcible taking of property from another person. Why not? It’s just property. Stuff. Let’s make robbery legal, too.
And where does it end?
I’ve seen first hand a woman from a good family in a wealthy neighborhood who called the police to deal with her 12-year-old son, who was “out of control.” This boy refused to go to school, had long, greasy hair, and only wanted to smoke pot 24-7. His room was in shambles, he cussed his mother out daily while screaming that he hated her, and had no respect for her. His one goal in life? He wanted to be homeless, so he could have the freedom to smoke marijuana. He was 12-years old! When I asked the mother where her son got his marijuana, she sheepishly told me how she grew marijuana plants because she had a “medical marijuana” card. She lamented that her 12-year-old wouldn’t obey her when she told him that he couldn’t smoke weed.
Where’s the modeling, people? Is this the message you’re willing to send to your children? That you, me, we all let the pot heads, the gang members, the American drug-dealers, and the Mexican narco-terrorists determine the future of our way of life? That we all waved the white flag and surrendered to them? That their way—a world with legalized drugs and who knows what else?—was the better way? Let’s just take the money?
If we all vote to legalize marijuana, we’ve lost our children forever. They will never respect you or me as parents or value anything we ever told them. Our children will think we are all hypocrites and liars. Our children will shake their heads in shame and say: “How could you—who always taught me to do the right thing and say NO to drugs—have voted for this!?”
Believe it or not, a great many of our young people, some who aren’t old enough to vote yet, want marijuana and other hard drugs to remain illegal. These kids actually believe in our great country and traditional American values. They go to church, serve as scouting camp counselors, participate in community service projects, feed the poor and care for the homeless, while relishing their role as “part of the solution and not part of the problem.” They cherish their loving parents who establish boundaries, enforce rules, and mete out discipline, along with praise, hugs, and kisses, because it makes them feel safe, and loved, and grounds them by giving them something they can believe in that’s bigger than themselves. These children, many of them teenagers, actually listen to and respect their parents, even over their peers. These might even be your children.
If you give up, and surrender to those who would undermine the fabric of our society, your children will give up. You can forget about your children getting good grades and going to college, your son earning his Eagle Scout, your daughter getting her Gold Award, and their continued affiliation with anything worthwhile, because what would it all mean anymore? They’re not going to care because the adults who want legalized drugs don’t care. Not about their children, their futures, nor about the future of our nation. These adults just want to smoke pot, cross their fingers, close their eyes and hope and pray they can at least make a little money in the process, and that the crime and bad guys will go away.
Do you think your children are going to feel safe with now-legalized pot dispensaries popping up at the end of your block, next door to your house, with riff raff hanging out, drinking, and smoking dope in front of everybody?
Marijuana is the broken window in the “Broken Window” theory of neighborhood decay. Perhaps you’ve heard of this legendary sociological theory of urban blight. Break a window in an otherwise nice urban area, and leave it broken, don’t fix it. A passerby will see the broken window and assume it’s an area that no one cares about and he’ll have no qualms about throwing his litter there. Now you have a broken window and trash in the street. Then a tagger will come along, see the broken window and the litter, think that nobody must care in that neighborhood, and then he’ll tag the walls with graffiti. Now you have a broken window, trash, and graffiti. Along comes a pimp, a drug dealer, and some gang members…and you can guess the rest of the scenario.
Marijuana is that “broken window.” It’s the first bad decision in an inevitable string of increasingly worse decisions, because after legalizing pot, legalizing cocaine won’t seem so outlandish, and then methamphetamine. Pretty soon people committing crime while high on drugs will just “come with the territory.” Then what else will we tolerate? Outsourcing our protection to armed gangs of narco-criminals like in Mexico? Doing away with law and order altogether? Forget the Pledge of Allegiance! What is America, anyway? Let’s all burn the flag! Hey, Sharia Law’s starting to look good.
Remember NIMBYs? NIMBY stands for “Not In My Back Yard,” and was usually the reaction by citizens whenever someone wanted to build, erect, or establish a program, project, or site that could have a detrimental effect on a neighborhood or property values (think parole office, drug-treatment facility, homeless shelter, toxic waste dump, etc.). Those concerned citizens who didn’t want anything to do with the proposed neighborhood site were called NIMBYs.
I’m going to coin a new term here, a NIMFAB—Not In My Flesh and Blood. And I’m going to stand up and be counted as the first official NIMFAB. I have an intelligent, kind-hearted, patriotic, religious, and beautiful daughter, who believes in giving back to her community and helping people. She gets excellent grades, plays the piano and the violin, and is growing as an athlete. And she is an outstanding Girl Scout, who will no doubt earn her Gold Award and make her Eagle Scout father proud. She already knows what college she wants to go to and what she wants to do as a career.
She is 9-years old.
I’ll be damned if I’m going to give up and surrender to legalized marijuana or any other legalized craziness. And I’m not going to sit around and watch a bunch of degenerate yahoos tear this great nation apart. I’m going to rail against this and stand up for what’s right, as long as I have to. I’m going to do it for my daughter, and for all of her awesome friends, and for all of our children. Because I’m not willing to sacrifice a whole generation of our young people so that pot-smokers can be “decriminalized” or so that California can raise money. Not drug money! Not ever. Legalizing marijuana is the first step to the social and moral decay of the United States, and that is a bad idea. And I feel the same way about that bad idea, as every dutiful parent feels about every other bad idea.
Not in my flesh and blood!
A shorter version of this article appeared in the Pasadena Weekly of September 9, 2010.