We are country full of self-interested people who care only about our own issues and our own opinions. I don’t actually think that’s a bad thing in most cases. I enjoyed Atlas Shrugged too. I know that self-interest is the motivation behind many of the great inventions we take for granted today. Nevertheless, it really bugs me that a lot could be accomplished if we would focus more on what we agree on and less on where we disagree – at least for now. At least until we get SOMETHING done.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for lower taxes and less government involvement. I think we live in a bloated federal bureaucracy that shoves its nose into every nook and cranny of our lives, despite explicitly being told that it has no business being there by the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
What bothers me is that the groups fighting for our personal liberty seem concerned with everything BUT our personal liberties. They focus on money issues. They focus on taxation, bailouts, being required to purchase healthcare, and laws affecting business. Meanwhile, they ignore any law that forbids someone to do what they wish with their own body, in their own time, in their own home, without harming or affecting a single other person. They are OUTRAGED at any regulation affecting commerce or freedom OF religion (nevermind freedom FROM it; that’s another topic), but don’t blink an eye when the federal or state government legislates morality.
We have all of this talk about “small government”, “States’ rights” and “personal liberty” going on in our country and state, yet one of the most basic of rights and liberties, that of which herbal medicines and plants I wish to consume, is either ignored or worse. It seems like Republicans and many Libertarians are just fine with the government telling everyone what they can and can’t do with their own bodies, but draw the line at the government getting involved in commerce. Which is more important to you – money or freedom? I’ll take my freedom to do as I please, as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else, over money any day of the week!
I don’t think we need to make that choice though. I’m not a Democrat either. I consider myself and Independent, but am probably more Libertarian than most self-described Libertarians because I truly believe that we should be able to do whatever we damn-well please as long as it isn’t hurting anyone else.
Nevermind the fact that we’re throwing 18-year-olds in jail and mandating sentences for marijuana possession in most states. Nevermind the cost of this to tax payers. Nevermind the potential for tax revenue should medical ,or even recreational, marijuana be legalized federally. Nevermind the countless studies showing the efficacy of THC in mitigating pain and the effects of certain illnesses. Nevermind the fact that most or almost half (depending on which poll you look at) of all Ameicans think it should be legalized. Nevermind the lessons learned during the prohibition of alcohol in regard to the relationship between prohibition of widely used goods and criminal elements. Most of all, nevermind your personal feelings on the matter. You have the right to your opinion and if you don’t want to smoke marijuana you don’t have to. End of story.
The fact remains that our government and much of the conservative movement in this country – the very people who claim they are fighting for less government and more freedom – continue to support laws that infringe on OUR personal liberty and seek to force their own moral judgements on everyone else.
I am not a “pot head”. I am a college graduate, a homeowner, a member of a rural community, a respected professional in my industry, and a devoted husband and father. So why make a criminal out of me for exercising my God-given right to ingest a plant that has been growing in our soils since before we arrived on these shores? Is it a case of where you draw the line? How about when people harm other people? How about when the substance is a pharmaceutical (e.g. made in a lab instead of grown in the soil)? There are plenty of lines to be drawn that make more sense than throwing kids and adults in jail for something demonstrably less harmful to themselves, or to society, than alcohol, tobacco or legally prescribed pain pills.
Do you really believe that it is a “gateway” drug? It is perfectly natural for teens and young adults to begin their experimentation with the least harmful substance available. It could also be said that alcohol is a “gateway” drug, or that cigarettes are a “gateway” drug because most crackheads smoke and drank before the did crack. Alcohol and tobacco aren’t ‘good for you’ (and I’m sick and tired of hearing arguments that marijuana IS because that’s irrelevant), but that is why we have laws enacted that forbid our contributing to minors. Those of us over the age of 21 (which seems arbitrary since we can die for our country at 18) don’t need you, the government or anyone else to tell us what plants we can and cannot eat, smoke, chew or grow for any use we please. This is matter of freedom and personal liberty. Where are the Tea Party cries when it comes to the marijuana issue?
Gay Civil Unions / Gay Marriage
I know what the bible says about homosexuality. I grew up in a Pentecostal church so you don’t have to tell me about the bible. But I also know that most of the stuff the Old Testimate says we should do or forbid is just downright sadistic in today’s world. 1 Corinthians 14:34 says that women aren’t allowed to speak in church. Deuteronomy 22:13, 14 – 22:20, 21 says that all the men of the city should stone your wife to death if she isn’t a virgin when you marry her. Mark 9:43 implies that you should cut your hand off if it causes you to sin. Deuteronomy 23:2 says that bastard children can’t go to church. But nevermind all of that… What the bible says about it doesn’t matter (when it comes to the law of the land) because it is very clear that the authors of our Constitution wished religion and State to be separate entities. You are free to practice or not practice any religion you wish as long as it isn’t harming someone else or infringing on their rights. By passing laws banning gay marriage or civil unions we are infringing on someone else’s right to the pursuit of happiness in their own fashion. They aren’t harming anyone else. If you don’t like it, don’t attend the wedding service. If we are to agree that “wedding” is a biblical / religious function, then a “civil union” shouldn’t cause any problems with that definition.
Personally, I can’t see how a man could even kiss another man on the lips, much less do anything else. But hey – that’s my own opinion that is confined to my own actions. It shouldn’t affect anyone else. What two (or more, because I can apply this same logic to bigamy) adult human beings do between themselves is none of my business.
The next time you find yourself criticizing the government for being too big; for getting into your business too much – think about the fact that we all have different issues of personal freedom that are important to us. One of mine is my freedom to buy and drink unpasturized, raw milk if I knowingly and willingly purchase it from my neighbor. Maybe you care about your right to not take part in a government-run healthcare program. Or maybe you just don’t want to wear your seatbelt.
But know that if we allow – or worse, contribute to – the withholding of another American’s right to make personal choices that affect none but themselves, we don’t deserve to have our rights either. We might as well just give up because we’ve already lost the fight.