Friday, June 29, 2012

They times, they are a changin’ How much does that offend certain people?

A part of me can’t help but wonder what the ‘old guard’ (a.k.a., those old enough to think the Chicago police were justified in ’68,that Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., had that brick coming in Marquette Park, and that Bob Dylan's voice is atrocious) is thinking these days.

For the City Council that once would have ranted and railed in their favor on Wednesday went ahead and overwhelmingly voted toward decriminalization of possessing small amounts of marijuana.

THE DEMON DRUG that those people want to believe only freaks inhale – even though they probably ignore just how much of the leafy substance their grandchildren have used.

Then on Thursday, the Supreme Court of the United States went ahead and issued a ruling that pretty much gave Barack Obama what he would have wanted with regards to health care reform.

The amounts of the measure that got overturned truly are so miniscule that there’s no way the ideologues can “spin” this into a victory the way they tried to do on Monday with regards to Arizona’s attempts to meddle in immigration enforcement.

I’m sure these people are viewing the whole world as having fallen out of their hands and turned upside down. All because we had a couple of moments from various branches of our government where officials used a bit of sense in viewing public policy.

RATHER THAN LETTING the hang-ups of a few dictate policy to the many.

Everybody else is feeling the need to vent about health care reform – although personally I feel a certain peace about the issue. Even though I realize the partisan rhetoric is far from over. Seeing that this thing is not going to be reduced to rubble makes me hope it can be built upon in future years.

Because anybody with sense realizes that what Congress actually approved and President Barack Obama signed into law was a minor measure. Serious reform that provides adequate health services to all is going to require more work – and not of the sort that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, promises when he talks of repealing health care reform.

Some political people seem determined to live in the past. Hopefully, they remain in the minority.

JUST LIKE THOSE three aldermen on Wednesday who persisted in voting against decriminalization, which in all honesty is the policy already being followed in several suburbs. This isn't a new concept for the Chicago metro area -- just the city proper.

A part of me respects the sincerity of someone like 26th Ward Alderman Roberto Maldonado, who said he thinks people will “misinterpret” decriminalization and use it to justify increased use of the drug.

Which may be true for some people. Although I’d argue that those people probably would take anything as a sign that they should smoke more marijuana.

Reject decriminalization, and they’ll start thinking of themselves as revolutionaries who are engaging in an act of civil disobedience by inhaling – instead of the reality that they have become too addicted to a substance.

JUST LIKE THOSE people who will keep buying cigarettes no matter how high the taxes go because they need the nicotine fix, or those of the older generation who may well now be turning to a cocktail to steady their nerves in light of all the “insanity” they perceive as occurring these days.

Such attitudes are the reason why I have always thought decriminalization makes sense. It forces us to view the substance as less a crime and more a problem that should be dealt with.

Viewing it as a crime makes us think that locking people up is a solution. I do believe were better off letting police officers in Chicago spend their time on more serious activities than someone who can’t get through a day without making themselves so sleepy from cannabis sativa.

Personally, when I need to feel sluggish and sleepy, I read a court brief. Trying to interpret legalese can warp the minds of just about everybody.

PERHAPS EVEN THOSE people who on Thursday morning from both Fox News Channel and Cable News Network managed to get it wrong in the initial reports about the nation’s high court ruling Thursday on health care reform (then CNN compounding the problem by issuing a correction that was flawed).

Which makes me thankful that I turned to newspaper-oriented sites (it was the Chicago Sun-Times, quickly followed up by the Washington Post, where I read the news) to find out what happened.

So on these few days when I can claim our government is doing the “right” thing, and ignoring the rhetoric of a generation that can’t quite accept the fact that their time has passed (and that even many of their own generation disagree), I suppose my thought is that we should appreciate it. It's also ironic that both Obama and Mayor Rahm Emanuel (Obama's former chief of staff) can claim political victories, since Emanuel wanted decriminalization.

Because it will be just a matter of time before officials manage to do something that will bother us all once again, and all will be right (in a sense) with the world!


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