Tom's Thoughts

Location: Granite Falls, North Carolina, United States

I'm an ordained United Methodist minister no longer pastoring churches, a former media producer with skills ten years out of date, a writer trying to sell my first novel, and a sales associate keeping body and soul together working for the People's Republic of Corporate America. I'm married to the most wonderful woman in the world, who was my best friend for 17 years before we married.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

On the War on Drugs

Another rant on hypocrisy, I'm afraid.

George Will, every so often, points out how heroin is both purer and cheaper now than when the "War on Drugs" started. It has been a dismal failure, yet no one wants his or her child to become as drug-addled as Rush Limbaugh or some other addicts, at least one in every family.

Therefore, politicians exploit the fears of parents (both in the literal and Transactional Analysis senses) to keep the draconian laws in force. Other politicians are too chicken to challenge this, lest someone use the words, "soft on drugs" or "soft on crime" in one of the thirty-second smear ads they're going to run, anyway. This is why the Clinton Administration used the power of the federal government to try to thwart the will of the people to legalize medical marijuana use when those people exercised their Constitutional authority to make laws for their own states.

Clinton admits using marijuana (even though he didn't inhale) and Bush admits to using cocaine (at Camp David while his father was President, according to some witnesses). Yet neither has the cojones to stand up and say that outlawing drugs has failed.

The answer is to openly discuss legalization/decriminalization issues while concentrating on eliminating the demand for drugs. Giving young people alternatives to chemical escapes from intolerable conditions; offering adequate, free rehab to addicts; allowing addicts to get drugs by prescription until they can kick the habit through rehab. These make sense, but nobody has the backbone to stand up and say so.

At least part of the reason is that looking at the demand side of any issue is essentially off the table. The Reagan era brought in "supply side" economics which brought us unprecedented deficits while making the rich richer and the poor poorer. (A rising tide won't lift a boat with a hole in the hull.) If you looked at the demand side, you would understand why raising the minimum wage lowers unemployment and promotes small business growth. That would be unacceptable to the business interests that control Congress.

Ah, well. Just another hoot in the whirlwind.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

On Thanksgiving

This is the season some of us set aside to think about being thankful. Actually being thankful is another story. Some of us. For the People's Republic of Corporate America it's just a minor speed bump along the mad dash to Christmas.

I am thankful that the American people woke up and put the grown-ups in charge of the Congress. Now, if they will just remember that they are grown-ups and no longer the puppies following the Rove/Cheney juggernaut. Can we have the last of "yeah, me too, but I'd do it better"? Can we have the last of the fear of the corporate-owned media hailing Republican squeak-by wins as mandates and Democratic landslides as calls to govern from the middle? Don't hold your breath.

I'm thankful to be married to the most wonderful woman on Earth, and I wish all married couples could be as happy as we are. I am thankful that some states stay out of deciding who can share that bliss and who can't.

I'm thankful for my family--biological and step. I'm thankful for gainful employment, food to eat, and a roof over my head. Even while wishing for a job that fulfilled me more and allowed me to be off on Sundays and a place to live in a decent city (or even town) away from here.

I'm thankful for my part-time work for Gardner-Webb, and wish it could be full-time.

I'm thankful for my health, such as it is, and hopeful that the new Congress will finally get serious about joining the rest of the developed world and institute first-world health care for all of us.

I could go on, but what's the point? Nobody reads this, anyway.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

On the Upcoming Elections and Those to Follow

I see the debate about electronic voting machines continues into another election. I'd wager money that the same thing will be going on two years hence. Nobody is going to do a damned thing about the situation except sit around and bitch.

The Republicans are going all-out to make sure no one votes who isn't entitled to, even if that means some legitimate (Democratic) voters are prevented from voting. Democrats want to make sure all eligible voters are able to cast a ballot, even if that means that some who are not eligible vote, anyway.

But I want to know something: Where is this great wave of voter fraud? Is there some big movement out there of illegitimate people sneaking into the voting booths and casting ballots they are not entitled to? Uh, that would apply to the makers of the voting machines. I recently read that the key to the voting machine is the same key that opens hotel mini-bars, etc., and they are available all over the internet for sale. And these people want to trust us. The head of Diebold said he would do everything in his power to see that G. W. Bush got elected (this time), and the machines kept recording votes for Kerry as votes for Bush. Especially in Ohio.

But back to the wave, the invasion, the epidemic of voter fraud: It's like the Flag-Burning Amendment. How many flags have you seen burned in protest in the U. S. in the last 40 years? Me, neither.

Ah, politics!