With all of this brouhaha over Congressman Zach Wamp's past cocaine use, it's got me thinking: Are there really people out there who seriously believe that, just because someone used to smoke pot or snort coke, they're not qualified to be an elected leader? Assuming they are no longer engaging in illicit activities--we'll hold off for now on the debate over how stupid it is to criminalize marijuana--should a former drug user, no matter how infrequent, be ruled out?
I think it's ludicrous to think that someone who might otherwise be an ideal candidate would be passed over because he did bong hits in his college dorm 30 years ago. I'm just wondering how many of you agree with Sueyyyy, who posted this comment on this thread about Zac Wamp:
"There are many good and capable candidates for public office who didn't 'use' during their younger days. Let's get away from the expose/forgive group and cast our nets wider."
DON'T TRUST A POLITICIAN WHO HASN'T USED DRUGS.I know some of you will gasp in horror, roll your eyes or foam at the mouth, but before you dismiss my proposition, please read on:
Consider these statistics, from none other than The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy: Well over 50 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 34 have tried some illicit substance. As of 2001, the last year in this particular study, almost 40 percent of people 35 and older had used drugs. The overall usage, for everyone over the age of 12, was 42 percent.OK, maybe Lindsay Lohan isn't the best poster child for my argument either.
As the population ages, surely the overall usage will go well past 50 percent. If our elected officials are to truly represent us, wouldn't it help if their life experience is representative of our own?
And more importantly, here's my problem with people who are, say, under 50 years old and have never so much as tried pot even once. Didn't you have any curiosity at all about the experience? Were you just such a goody-two-shoes that you were afraid you'd get caught? Do you automatically buy the party line that alcohol is fine and pot is evil?
To truly lead our nation in these difficult times, do you really want someone who's never watched Dazed and Confused after a couple of bong hits? Can you relate to someone who hasn't downed a pint of Ben & Jerry's after a couple of joints?
Do you really believe that someone who had spent an evening inhaling the finest sticky bud and listening to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon with the lights off would have the gall and bloodlust to invade Iraq? (On second thought, scratch that one. Dubya quite likely had such an evening.)Damn, why do I keep posting pictures that sabotage my hypothesis? Could it be brain damage from all those drugs in college?
I know what some of you are thinking: "Are you high?" Nope. Haven't had so much as a drink in over 15 years, because I did, admittedly, have a tendency to...let's say, overindulge. Still, I know plenty of folks from my college days who dabbled in drugs and then let it go. They're now upstanding, educated and thoughtful folks, and quite a few of them would make far better governors, senators and represenatives than our current lot.
Now I'm not saying that we should give some unreformed cokehead or junkie the launch codes to our nuclear arsenal. If someone clearly has an active addiction problem, I would agree they're unqualified. (And bear in mind that more than a few of our elected representatives do have addiction problems with alcohol and prescription drugs. And lest you be confused, legal or not, alcohol is a drug like any other.)Actually, come to think of it, I don't really want these nimrods setting my property tax rates either. Regardless, the beer tap on the bong is kind of inventive--and I still stand by my argument.
As to the argument that someone who's used drugs has broken the law, well, find me someone who hasn't. Have you ever exceeded the speed limit? And how many times have you operated a vehicle with a blood-alcohol content over .08 percent? (I'd argue that drunk driving poses a far greater danger than pot smoking. Furthermore, alcohol is a much more detrimental substance than marijuana in general. When was the last time you read about an abusive husband who smoked a couple of joints and decided to kick the shit out of his wife?) Have you ever misrepresented anything on your tax return? Torn the label off your mattress? Taken more than one copy of the Scene from a distribution point? (Try it and we'll prosecute your ass from here to Abu Ghraib.)
Let he who is without sin cast off the first stoner.