Ahh, California, my homeland. It’s the state that nurtured me and made me the cynic I am today. Thankfully, for me and for Californians I live in New York but having spent the first 22 years there, I feel qualified to comment on the culture and of course their drug policy. I know what you are saying, “feelings aren’t facts” meaning perhaps I am not qualified but isn’t that what a blog is for? Unsubstantiated rantings about whatever? That’s what mine is for anyway.
California has a reputation of being a liberal bastion; groundbreaking culture where oddballs cast out of their home environment can feel safe. To some extent this is true, the epicenter of the gay culture found a home in an Irish Catholic neighborhood in San Francisco. Angela Davis shouted from the hills of Westwood at UCLA. Berkeley has long been a community and University of intellectual inquiry and liberal politics. The thing to remember about California is that it is huge and diverse and except for these pockets it might as well be Texas. Californians love the death penalty, guns, the Klan has a strong yet more subdued presence there. Ironically Californians love almost all things Mexican, the food (which by the way is one of the best things about the state), the architecture, as well as naming their cities and streets Spanish names. What they don’t love about Mexican culture are the people. They have staunch opinions about being bilingual and immigration. They vote to exclude immigrants from health care and education. This seems to be institutionalized racism because they all seem to love their individual Lupe, Maria, or Consuela whom they treat as an indentured servant. So in other words the message is: “Mexicans keep out; unless you will mow my lawn, care for my child, grow my food, bus my table, clean my house, then we welcome you North, amigo”. In a sense California is liberal but in a really militant way especially in the Bay area. There is a high expectation of political correctness in the social circles in the Bay area. A smugness that is off-putting, exclusive, as well as mystifying. What is it that makes them feel they have found the secret to happiness? It is a quaint place, aesthetically pleasing and the food is good but is it important? No, it is not. Certainly not to the degree it feels it is. For a place that celebrates diversity it is oddly rigid. If you didn’t go to UCLA or Stanford, live in the Marina and drive an Audi A4 you will never be a cool kid, not ever. Los Angeles? Not enough time to comment on that quagmire of vapid dudeosity they call a city. Oh what to do about the California problem? Get a burrito and a surfboard and join them? Hardly an option. Stay in Brooklyn and make fun of them? Watch their political climate closely? Yes, this will be a better plan.
Why California on the brain? The measure that will be on the November 2nd ballot to legalize marijuana. I have never made any secret about my position on marijuana: I consider it a dangerous psycho reactive drug and I encourage people to steer clear of it. I hate the culture that surrounds it; the complacency, the stupidity, the dirty hacky sack playing white kids with Dred locks that look like they need parenting and a bath. I really do not like hippies or their hypocrisy. With that said, I am a supporter of taxing and regulating a substance that clearly the people want and consume. Additionally, I would never support the government having the right to choose an individuals intoxicant, especially when the one they choose is one of the most dangerous ones out there. California has clued in, or maybe they are thrust into this by their fiscal crisis. Whatever the motivation, California could be the first state to reduce illicit drug use by more than half, generate revenue and a tax base for something that already goes on, and allow a personal liberty that the government has no right to intercept. Where is the downside of this? Additionally, it would seem to merge various cultures in California. The Hollywood limousine liberals could feel good about themselves (although what would stop them?), the San Francisco smugness would be justified (in their minds) and the gun-toting Mexican hating, tract housing living conservatives should be happy that big wasteful government would be turning a loss into a profit. Will they be? Will these cultures align and be the first domino to fall in America? Who knows? Anyone who has ever tried to organize drug users to do much of anything knows, addicts don’t vote. They are too self-centered, often high and unaware of any civic responsibility. Addicts in recovery are of course a different breed of cat. Will they put the bong aside, the Doritos away and turn the Xbox off long enough to vote on an issue that impacts them? Maybe they won’t. Their weed could increase in price and dealers will deliver. It takes minimal effort to get high at the moment so maybe they won’t do it.
The polls suggest most voters favor the move to make marijuana legal. There are voices out there dissenting. One is Pastor Ron Allen, a crack smoker turned cleric, (really is there any better kind?) who is one of those “Just say no” evangelicals voicing bizarre opinions based on his sample of one of what to do about the drug problem. Other’s are surely to surface opposing this issue, likely they swill scotch and hate Mexicans but culturally stereotyping people is really not part of my bag of tricks so I will leave them alone.
Which California will emerge on November 2nd? I hope it’s the one that will approve this and end a piece of the senseless, bloody drug war. I say either end the prohibition of Cannabis or reinstate the prohibition of alcohol. Ok, California, its, like, you know, up to you to lead the nation on this one.