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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The good, the bad and the ugly

What's good about the US elections tonight? None of the multi-millionaire big spenders managed to buy themselves political power. The kerrazzee wrestling CEO didn't manage it, nor did the former Hewlett-Packard CEO who exported jobs out of America, nor the eBay CEO.

It seems that the day and hour when you can simply purchase power is not today and not this hour. Not yet. Thank goodness for that. It's a small mercy.

The bad? Stalemate in US politics for the next two years. Looks like a Democratic Senate and a Republican House. But the Republicans are riven between the GOP old guard and the Tea Party, which is itself riven between the likes of Marco Rubio and the likes of Christine 'not a witch' O'Donnell.

The tea partiers want smaller government, but they don't know what to cut except Obama's healthcare programme, his one achievement which he won't give up. The GOP wing, as demonstrated by Bush, are as big spending as the Democrats. And the Democrats have just been viciously pasted.

The ugly? Proposition 19 seems to have been voted down in California. This was the proposal to legalise and tax cannabis in the state. It would have brought billions in revenue to the bankrupt state. And it would have set in process a much-needed wave of legalisation across the world had it passed and been demonstrated to work.

The war on drugs has failed utterly. Cannabis is one of the most benign of psychoactive substances, rated only this week by prominent medical journal The Lancet as much less damaging to individuals or society than alcohol.

America's demand for drugs won't recede just because cannabis remains illegal. People will continue to die by the thousand in Mexico and elsewhere to feed that appetite. And the civil liberty to choose freely a favoured intoxicant has again been denied.

According to exit polls, the vote broken down by age was as follows: 18-29 59%, 30-44 50%, 45-64 44, 65+ 32.

So it was voted down by grannies. Boomers are slightly opposed (what utter hypocrisy) and younger voters (under 45) are in favour. It's inevitable that cannabis will be legalised in California, then America, then the rest of the world, in future years. But during each of those years, criminals will pocket billions and thousands will die as a result of this ludicrous prohibition.

1 comment:

The Shaved Ape said...

On cannabis: I voted in favor of the proposition, though I don't use the drug. My feelings match yours.

Also, we learned during the alcohol prohibition days that a drug law that turns out to be disastrous can be changed. Why not try legalizing marijuana and see what happens?