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Why the fuss?
If you try to come up with a reason you may drive yourself a little nutty until you realize that it is foolhardy to try to explain irrational behavior with rational thought. Irrational behavior is the result of irrational thought - always. So all bets are off, because people defending irrational behavior will never ever cop to the fact that it is irrational. We'll never really know what drives these guys - chances are they don't know either. The best we can do is take a couple guesses.
The first and most obvious guess is that fear of marijuana - especially when lumped in with other much more dangerous drugs - is taught in the home in the same way racial prejudice is taught in the home. These inherited beliefs and values, like choice of religion, are usually pretty-well engrained by puberty, and somewhere between difficult and impossible to unseat. They don't have to be logical or justifiable because they just are. We all have these.
The second guess is a twist on the first. I am just supposing here, and I am not (necessarily) pointing a finger at any one person.
I am white. To me, pot is a white person's pleasure. Soccer moms and hunting rednecks and divorce lawyers and school teachers get high in my world. I have certainly and many times gotten high with black friends, but becuase of where I live, my world is mostly white and so are the marijuana users in it. I wonder if these old white politicians, bitter because they never got elected President or sat on the Supreme Court, many from the south, and all completely out of touch with what life is really like in these United States, view marijuana as an inner-city issue. I wonder what shade of skin they envision marijuana users having. And then I wonder if the racial prejudice many of our elected officials still harbor - especially the old, the white, and the southern, colors their view (pun intended) of marijuana and marijuana users.
Of course prejudice is irrational, and so any thought that stems from it will be inherently irrational. America is apparently still a nation of racists, currently led by a racist President. Some of us silly, naïve people thought that the 60s and 70s had actually made a difference, but it more often than not seems worse now than it was then. At least in the 70s people talked about racial inequality instead of deciding it is unPC because it is an uncomfortable topic. So my supposition makes sense to me. I could be wrong.
Lastly, In 1949, H. L. Mencken identified in Americans "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy." This has sometimes been interpreted as an insightful articulation of our odd, perhaps Puritanical need to criminalize other people's inclination to catch a buzz. Or in other words, people don't want other people to have fun that they aren't having.
It is easy to see how a parent, teacher or politician - as the one in charge, and separate by default and definition - can feel left out when everyone else is having fun, and they have to be cool. It is easy to picture a cartoon starring almost any politician from almost any era, talking to a cohort, with a text cloud above his head that reads: "Why should they get to get high? Did they ever invite me, just once? No! They think I'm an old fuddy-duddy? Fine! Screw ‘em. Pass a new law tomorrow. Damn kids." Maybe if someone had been able to get Nixon high we wouldn't be on this path!
So, as the most logical irrational answer to the question, "Why the fuss?", we hereby conclude and submit: Our leaders simply don't want us to have any fun that they're not having. That's it!
We all hope and pray that someday very soon (tomorrow would be great) we'll get someone in charge at the federal level that realizes how many millions (maybe billions) of tax dollars they are not collecting, and be big enough to either let us have some fun that they’re not having, or join us. We are bipartisan and we share!
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