Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
So I took a test on facebook (silly I know) on what hogwarts house I belong to. I was sorted into Gryffindor which is a symbol of idealism and doing what's right when the odds are against you and it doesn't make sense to do the right thing. I was once called idealistic as an insult in that I was unrealistic in my beliefs and that what I was standing for would never work. To me, that was one of the best compliments I could have received. That says I have a set of values, beliefs that I hold and won't give up. I hope one day I am put to the test on whether I'm all talk or if I stand firm in my beliefs. I hope I pass. I hope I have the courage, like a lion of gryffindor, to not buckle to the beliefs that I'm too "idealistic". Because your ideas are all you have. Hold onto them tight.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
So as we've all seen, Proposition 19 has failed in the state of California. For those of you living under a rock the past six months ago, proposition 19 was an initiative to legalize marijuana in this state for citizens 21 years of age and up. I'm not going to lie, I voted yes on the proposition in hopes of legalizing it and I was pretty convinced prior to the election it would fail. I won't hate you or dislike you if you voted no on the proposition, I just hope you know why you voted the way you did. And the sad part is, from the posts and comments I've seen on facebook, the majority of you voted no for all the wrong reasons.
First, let me tell you some perfectly good reasons you should have voted NO on proposition 19. If you voted no because the actual language of the proposition was unclear and was poorly written, you had a completely valid reason to vote no. The proposition legalized marijuana in California, however it allowed for counties that wanted to continue the prohibition of marijuana to do so. So if I bought legal weed in Los Angeles, took it to Riverside county where it might've remained illegal, do I get arrested? I purchased the weed in a convenience store, I am of age, and was correctly taxed, yet just because of my location in the same state it becomes illegal? The proposition didn't address that major issue and the bureaucracy necessary to determine situations like that could've cost the state even more than the proposition created. So if you voted no on the proposition due to lack of comprehensiveness, good for you.
A second good reason to vote no on proposition 19 was that even though it would be legal according to state law, the federal government still has marijuana listed as a schedule one drug (along with cocaine and heroin among others) therefore making it illegal on a federal level. If you ever took an American history course and payed attention, this country fought a civil war because the southern states had issues with the federal government having too much power and state's rights were being infringed. If you recall, the union won and the federal government maintained its supreme rule over individual states. The constitution explicitly states the federal law will always override state law when the two conflict. With that being said, one could make the argument that proposition 19 is unconstitutional and even if it was passed, it would most likely be stricken down in the United States Supreme Court. So if you voted no on proposition 19 based on that argument, good for you.
However, from what I've seen, most of you did not vote no on the proposition for this reason. Granted, I am generalizing, but based on comments and simple observations, it is pretty easy to conclude that those of you who voted no on proposition 19 did not have either of the two previous arguments in your mind. Many people voted no on proposition 19 because people who smoke weed are stupid, lazy stoners. To make a generalization like that is ridiculous, ignorant, and inappropriate. There exists a population of marijuana smokers who are unproductive members of society, but to take a stereotype of a group, and apply it to an entire population that consists of academics, musicians, actors, politicians, lawyers, and doctors is a foolish assumption to make. Next time I see you have a drink I'll make sure to remind you of your alcoholism.
Another reason I've seen people vote NO on the proposition is because weed is bad for you and its morally wrong. Based on that argument, should we ban everything that can potentially harm you? Maybe driving should be criminalized because according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2005 almost 40,000 people died in car accidents in the U.S. Click the link to view the percentage estimated to be alcohol related. Or maybe we should outlaw contact sports, that cause serious injury to large portion of its participants, including paralysis as seen here. One might say that those are extraordinary examples and that isn't enough to prohibit these activities. Yet somehow that's acceptable to do the marijuana using population in this country for whatever reason.
Also, people argue that it is morally wrong to smoke weed because it alters your mind in I guess an inappropriate manner. If you abstain from drugs and also alcohol and make this argument that weed is somehow morally wrong, good for you, you are maintaining your principles and you are true to what you say. However, to consider the consumption of alcohol acceptable and the consumption of marijuana unacceptable doesn't necessarily follow. Both alter your ability to make decisions and compromise your rationality. Both can impair your physical judgement and can impair depth perception. Both are depressants with alcohol tending to cause violent reactions more frequently than marijuana. Alcohol scientifically has severe consequences with mass consumption whereas marijuana has actually showed promise as a valid medical treatment. So to say alcohol is okay and marijuana isn't based on those grounds doesn't follow.
To rap this all up, I'm not even going to discuss the history of American drug laws because those in itself are a joke and their creation were inherently racist nor am I going to discuss the fiscal consequences of the war on drugs and its failure to stop drug use in this country. If you want to talk about it we can, but it'll be a long discussion, I can supplement our discussion with an eighteen page paper discussing both issues. All I'm asking is that when something similar to this proposition comes up again (which I believe it will in our lifetime), really consider why you're voting against it and the logic you used to reach that conclusion. Because if you read any of the previous paragraphs, you'll see a lot of these arguments just don't follow. Maybe I missed a key part of the opponents logic and if I did, I'd encourage you to let me know. I hope you enjoyed reading this, and I hope you learned a little something.
Monday, November 1, 2010
So with the upcoming midterm elections I've been watching a lot of news lately to try and make sure my decisions are informed decisions and I'm not picking candidates based on whether or not I like their suit. I feel it is very important to go out and vote and to make sure as a voter I know why I'm voting a particular way. It seems as though people stopped caring about politics in our country and are somewhat disillusioned with the idea of democracy. I see a lot of people saying "my vote isn't important" or "we're screwed either way". To say we're screwed either way might have some grounds because based on recent history especially on a state level it would appear that neither Republicans or Democrats know what the hell they are doing. But to completely give up on the democratic process is an insult to the people who have bled to maintain democracy and a slap in the face to our forefathers. It is clear that our founding fathers set up a democratic republic in order to rid our land of tyranny and to set up a government "for the people and by the people." However, a major part of their plan was having an informed citizenry to know what they were voting for. Thomas Jefferson himself stated that "Self-government is not possible unless the citizens are educated sufficiently to enable them to exercise oversight." Basically, a democracy is not possible without an educated and well informed citizenry, and based on some comments of my peers and even comments in media and other places, our democracy is destined to fail. People either are so disillusioned with democracy because of corporation's influence over public officials, corruption of other forms in Washington D.C., or simple apathy. Whatever the case may be, the current situation at least from a local perspective is discouraging.
However, this lack of trust in the government, this feeling of helplessness is what inspires me to get informed and to vote in every election. I believe in the democratic system that is the backbone of the United States. Our founding fathers did not design a perfect government and they knew that, but they were intelligent enough to allow for amendments to the Constitution in order to help make it better. I believe in my power to make a difference by simply going to my designated polling place, and casting my vote. Ever since I was a small child I took an interest in politics. I would look at my parents sample ballots and I'd cast my own ballot on what I would vote for if I could. Granted, my understanding of the political system at the time was elementary at best but I knew, that voting rights was not something everyone on this planet had, and I certainly would not take advantage of it. I don't know if other people weren't taught about democracy, or maybe because I was lucky to meet my grandfather's uncles, both distinguished world war two veterans who served our country honorably and with bravery, who knew the risks they took, but believed in defending something bigger than themselves.
Maybe I'm crazy in believing that my voice matters, maybe the conspiracy theories are right and are votes don't count. Or maybe I think the way I think because I value things that aren't tangible, like patriotism. It seems as time passes, more and more people lose a sense of patriotism and have lost a love for this country. I don't advocate nationalism, that the United States should be allowed to do whatever it wants at any cost, but I do believe we have set an example for nations to strive for, to come from being a colonial settlement, to the most prosperous and powerful nation in the world. And although we have hit economic hardships, and seem to be losing two wars, don't let radicals tell you otherwise, the United States is the most powerful country in the world and I'm glad to be a part of it. Despite our shortcomings, despite our differences, the American population has proven time and time again that we can overcome, we can survive, and we will not fail. I believe that this has been achieved through generations of Americans who value democracy, freedom, and the ability to work together; in Washington and even in our everyday lives. One can look at the current political situation and see politicians calling each other names, blacklisting each other, and throwing labels like "communist, socialist" etc around in order to try to polarize the country. However, the average American isn't to the far left or far right, but a moderate with certain beliefs that may lean more liberal or conservative. These are the people we need to focus on, because only through compromise and working together will the American dream be achieved.