Michael Phelps Should Not Be Sorry

6 02 2009

This Product Contains Cannabis [by me]

ZOMG, this product contains cannabis!


Michael Phelps has nothing to apologize for.  I understand the reality he faces, however, and why he has to say what he said.  But let’s go beyond the breathless theatrics and think about the core issue.  “He broke the law,” the pundits are saying, as if that is necessarily the end of the conversation.  Sorry, but Phelps was not wrong; our marijuana laws are wrong.  Really wrong.

Does anybody alive even remember why it was outlawed?  No, of course you don’t – but you’ll do yourself well to look over the historical – and hysterical – record.

Let’s take a few choice quotes from the era of marijuana criminalization, shall we?

“Marihuana influences Negroes to look at white people in the eye, step on white men’s shadows and look at a white woman twice.”
[1934 newspaper editorial in favor of criminalization]

“All Mexicans are crazy, and this stuff is what makes them crazy.”
[Texas legislator arguing for criminalization]

These weren’t just morons on the street.  In fact, Harry Anslinger, our nation’s first drug czar (under President Hoover), offered these ominous warnings for young Americans tempted by the evil weed:

“Colored students at the University of Minnesota were partying with white female students, smoking marijuana and getting their sympathy with stories of racial persecution. Result: pregnancy.”

“Two Negroes took a girl fourteen years old and kept her for two days under the influence of hemp. Upon recovery she was found to be suffering from syphilis.”

“An entire family was murdered by a youthful addict in Florida. When officers arrived at the home, they found the youth staggering about in a human slaughterhouse. With an axe he had killed his father, mother, two brothers, and a sister. He seemed to be in a daze… He had no recollection of having committed the multiple crime. The officers knew him ordinarily as a sane, rather quiet young man; now he was pitifully crazed. They sought the reason. The boy said that he had been in the habit of smoking something which youthful friends called “muggles” a childish name for marijuana.”

And today, we laugh at those old quotes – and movies like “Reefer Madness” – as if we’re soooo much smarter now.  But we’re not.  The current crop of “Drugs Are For Losers” public disinformation ads are hardly better.  I saw one recently with a teenage kid smoking pot, and somehow because of this – inside of 30 seconds – his little brother ended up drowning in the pool.  Boy did he feel stupid!  He didn’t know they meant “killer bud” literally!

The reason the ads are dumb, of course, is because they are tasked with the impossible – defending an indefensible policy.  There is absolutely no rational, cogent argument in support of the status quo with regard to marijuana.  None.  Well, at least there is no intellectually consistent argument for its criminalization that does not necessarily take with it alcohol, tobacco, cheesecake, and even sex (or at least sex with hot chicks.)

Since there is no actual, just, sensible reason to keep marijuana illegal (at least not for those who are non-authoritarian and non-idiot) we make stuff up.  There’s no science to support it; just dogma, so we must write very creatively.  From the heart to the heart, as it were.  I suppose the only truly “good” reasons are self-interest; say, if you work for a corporation or a big-budget government agency that benefits from the status quo – well, then, you’ll just have to make scary, dumb shit up.  Some people will even believe it.

The crux of it is that we need to deeply and seriously consider our assumptions on this issue and actually do something about it.  This is not a matter of a few hippies who want to get high.  We have created a colossal social disaster with our drug policies and spend billions of dollars every year punishing people for politically incorrect vices.  And the real tragedy is that most kids are not as lucky as Phelps.  Millions of supposedly free Americans – a vast majority of them poor black Americans – have been stopped, searched, arrested, imprisoned, separated from their families, stripped of eligibility for student aid, and eternally exiled from the world of gainful employment and upward mobility.  If that is not racism – if that is not consciously and deliberately knocking the socioeconomic wind out of millions – then please tell me what is.

Yet we build more prisons.  We sign the checks.  We assent – however tacitly – to these policies.  It’s not happening because of some bad people far away.  It is happening because of us.

Legalness does not automatically confer moralness nor justness.  This is especially true when the laws are based entirely on racism, ignorance, lies, hate, and fear – and completely unsupported by the facts.

We know there are plenty of immoral things that are totally legal.  It is likewise also true that all illegal things are not immoral.  To go further, some laws are immoral.  Thus, laws are sometimes wrong (hence the concept in legal philosophy of “natural law”).  And unjust laws do not deserve the same respect as laws that are just.  Our society has not evolved into a Utopia where every good and just thing has reached a state of permanent, beautiful, codified perfection while every dumb, bad thing has been rinsed cleanly away from our social fabric.  (One need only tune to prime time reality television to know this.)  On the contrary; there is legal laundry to do.  Many great thinkers have spoken eloquently at great length about the difficult social and legal work required to evolve a great, healthy nation.  To evolve, we must ask tough questions and be we willing to – however uncomfortable – face our brokenness and fix things when they are wrong.  And our drug laws are absolutely, totally wrong.  To borrow from Saint Augustine: unjust law is no law at all.

Now, back to Phelps.  Today, Kellogg said they would not renew their sponsorship deal with him because his behavior was “not consistent with the image of Kellogg.”

Wow – you’ve really got to love the delicious, high-fructose-corn-syrup-encrusted irony of Kellogg’s slamming Phelps’ private behavior while they market marshmallow Fruit Loops and chocolate banana Pop Tarts to millions of kids.

Are we a serious country?

66 responses to “Michael Phelps Should Not Be Sorry”
13 02 2009
Anonymous (20:38:46) :

[…] Pk Miguel no deberia estar arrepentido. […]

14 02 2009
Rick (10:15:36) :

It is the duty of a responsible citizen to disobey bad laws.

14 02 2009
Janette Toral (11:51:03) :

Making it legal can have the product be done supporting some standards or process like what tobacco/cigarette has. Its medicinal properties can also be tapped and put into good use.

Until laws are changed, it seems Phelps can only play the sorry card to save whatever he has left.

14 02 2009
Phil E. Drifter (18:03:11) :

It's not a war on (some) drugs (alcohol, tobacco, anyone? Those two LEGAL drugs kill almost 500,000 Americans *every year*), it's a war on minorities. I remember studying 'grandfather clauses' in grade school (google the term if you're unfamiliar with it). After the north won the civil war and outlawed slavery, corrupt politicians wrote 'grandfather clauses' to prevent the newly freed slaves from actually voting. After those were 'triumphantly' struck down as unconstitutional, Uncle Sam went and outlawed the *naturally growing substances* that minorities were using (instead of drinking the white man's alcohol).

Read tinyurl.com/1mn and tinyurl.com/potconviction for more info.

15 02 2009
yeahp (09:44:06) :

Kellogg's didn't mind endorsing him when he had a drunk driving conviction, something that actually kills people.

15 02 2009
kurt (10:00:43) :

In a democratic nation one should have the decision to smoke reefer. 😛

15 02 2009
Ed (13:46:24) :

Hear hear

16 02 2009
milk (12:44:38) :

yeh right watever he smoked a bong. most of us have done it. smoking is a personal choice. y do other people care if u eat more and are happy? this is a f-ed up cuntry! smoke up miky!

20 04 2009
Canapa o marijuana? Dubbio (quasi) risolto costruendo case « Il Blog di Deamaltea Formazione e Energie Sostenibili (04:28:41) :

[…] Michael Phelps Should Not Be Sorry (cosmictap.com) […]

7 10 2009
basinpipes (20:01:04) :

The guy is an amazing athlete, I don't know why people were on his case anyway – he is young, popular and should be allowed to have fun. I mean even Bill Clinton admitted to trying marijuana and so do a big part of the population. Phelps had to put up with so much abuse from the same people who were so proud of him during the Olympic games. The fact is weed is really not harmful to anyone and is just an easy target for the war on drugs program. Bottom line: we should be proud of him for his athletic abilities and support him.

8 10 2009
Mr. Glass pipes (03:01:04) :

The guy is an amazing athlete, I don't know why people were on his case anyway – he is young, popular and should be allowed to have fun. I mean even Bill Clinton admitted to trying marijuana and so do a big part of the population. Phelps had to put up with so much abuse from the same people who were so proud of him during the Olympic games. The fact is weed is really not harmful to anyone and is just an easy target for the war on drugs program. Bottom line: we should be proud of him for his athletic abilities and support him.
http://www.basinpipes.com

19 01 2012
Joel (16:59:04) :

I agree!

All adults should be able to engage in whatever hobby they want in their free time, as long as it hurts no one else.

It doesn’t enhance one’s athletic ability; nor does it damage the lungs (in fact, it has been shown to open up bronchial tubes and help prevent lung cancer) so why the hell shouldn’t he smoke?

3 06 2014
Michael Phelps Should Not Be Sorry | The Cosmic Tap | Mixed Media Story Making by Dave "Uncle Weed" Olson (16:40:24) :

[…] Michael Phelps Should Not Be Sorry | The Cosmic Tap […]

11 03 2015
Riverside Tokes for Phelps on the Varley Trail ~ Choogle On! #78 | Story Making by Dave "Uncle Weed" Olson (12:50:55) :

[…] Michael Phelps Should Not Be Sorry | The Cosmic Tap Michael Phelps has nothing to apologize for. I understand the reality he faces, however, and why he has to say what he said. But let’s go beyond the breathless theatrics and think about the core issue. “He broke the law,” the pundits are saying, as if that is necessarily the end of the conversation. Sorry, but Phelps was not wrong; our marijuana laws are wrong. Really wrong. […]

14 01 2017
Boycott Kellogg Co. | Free Weed Nextweek (01:56:28) :

[…] With any luck , anyone can converse some sense into Kellogg and Co. and have them reverse this horrible final decision introduced now. Update: an fascinating report from Anthony Citrano. Michael Phelps Need to Not Be Sorry. […]

14 01 2017
Boycott Kellogg Co. | Free Weed Tomorrow (17:20:01) :

[…] Ideally an individual can chat some perception into Kellogg and Co. and have them reverse this horrible decision introduced now. Update: an fascinating report from Anthony Citrano. Michael Phelps Ought to Not Be Sorry. […]

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