Public Faith & Trust
Watching the energetic backlash reaction to Obama’s mildly disdainful reaction to drug legalization from his last presser--and the plethora of pot leaves to bloom in comment threads thereafter--I thought of Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon, who recently wrote on the absolutely critical background faith and trust all Americans employ commonly in their everyday lives, and what great trouble indeed we could be in the further we erode and degrade it.
Faith binds together all Americans much more than they probably realize, and it goes far beyond the standard belief of Treasury greenbacks always being redeemed as legal tender. Driving to work we assume without thinking freeway bridges are inspected and safe, that stoplight rules will be generally followed. We have faith our water is safe, that public delivery systems work, that folks will employ common courtesy throughout the day. We trust the American civic and cultural system hundreds of times well before lunch every day, life would be impossible without it.
How does this weave in with bong hits? Cannabis proponents attack the criminality of pot on a number of quite legitimate fronts: an outrageous affront to personal freedom and liberty, the tragic maiming and dimming of lives in that persecution, a grossly wasteful and hypocritical incarceration public policy stance, and frantic pleas from really sick people who seek the many elements of relief smoking pot provides.
Taken together this amalgam of sterling reason and yearning, coupled with the patient gaze of decades watching searing dishonest failure spew everywhere in the reeking crushing mess of drug policy, leads to an irrevocable conclusion: how could we be so fucking stupid?
If anything is profane it’s the utter wreckage our insane policy has inflicted on our people over the decades, and it’s this base bovine stupidity, this total utter inability to see reality and accept the truth that is the base of the issue of Obama’s presser disdain. We ignore the damage this causes to public faith and trust at our peril.
How can we expect Americans to get motivated for change when we continue to be so ruthlessly stupid? How do we keep the faith that taxes will be paid if Americans can’t trust their government to be intelligent? How can we be sure the rule of law is generally followed when we abuse it so badly decade after decade?
American faith and trust in public policy is not limited to just drug policy, of course not, but still, the bonehead obtuse refusal to change in this area saps our energy and will, it has to. Some may scoff at the dangers of continual drug policy failure, we could never end up with the horrendous drug problems of Mexico or Russia, but our Finance sector just blew up into third world status. Isn’t that correct? No American should be arrogant enough at this point think we won’t be right there with the Federales down south if we keep this up.
There is no doubt that Americans are fearful and looking for all the intelligence and leadership to get us out the unholy mess we’re in. The Obama Administration cannot succeed without our help, faith and trust. Our people continue to be horribly abused and persecuted for smoking pot, there never seems to be hope for a change, yet change is now to be our mantle of reference?
I see. Americans are grown up enough to accept the various limitations, hypocrisy and stupidity of their government, no human entity is remotely perfect, but if you want to vastly increase the chances I’ll get off my ass and perform public service today, pay my $4,500 federal tax bill so crooked bankers can buy champagne, call my Congressman or be a desperately needed American 21st century climate change agent, well, stop being so stupid by locking up kids for toking weed. It doesn’t help at all.