Dark Day for Freedom

Yesterday the President made the extraordinary step of asking citizens to submit questions to him. He promised to answer the most popular ones, and he did.

This isn’t the first time this administration has invited questions. They’ve done this before, and each time one of the most pressing questions has been the issue of legalization.

About the only respectable thing I can say today about this man is that he finally gave the public a direct answer:

I have to say that there was one question that ranked fairly high, and that was whether legalizing marijuana would improve the economy [pause], and uh… [laughs], ah.. I don’t know what this says about the online audience [crowd laughs], but.. haha… but I just want uh.. I don’t want people to think uh.. this was a fairly popular question we wanted to make sure that it was answered, the answer is no, I don’t think that is a good strategy to grow our economy. [crowd claps]

Perhaps I’m naive, but I was shocked when I saw this.

Whether or not you agree with it, how can you laugh at an issue like that?

You were not put there by the people to laugh at their serious concerns. This particular issue has been the source of decades of fighting, murders, imprisonments, and millions of lives ruined. And this… politician, behaves exactly as so many cynics have said he would. This is not the change that we were told about, this is idiocy-as-usual.

I thought hard about posting this, as this post has nothing to do with Tao Effect or Espionage, or anything tech-related. But then I realized that in my position this is the most I could do, that this is what “being patriotic” is about, and on an issue like this I would be embarrassed and ashamed of myself if I didn’t speak out.

You’re laughing at peoples lives and their freedom Mister President. Wipe that smirk off your face.

Further Reading

The History of the Non-Medical Use of Drugs in the United States
Bullshit: The War on Drugs part 1 of 3

7 thoughts on “Dark Day for Freedom

  1. Reply

    rob wilke

    I heard this on the drive home on NPR too, I was bit let down especially because of how President O was brave to say and do unpopular things, (talking with Iran for example).

    I really expected a different answer, I was waiting for him to say something like “perhaps growing cannabis as a natural resource (oil, feed, fiber) would be a strategy worth looking into” What it is going to take is for the country to get worse economically, when people who have run out of unemployment money and are still jobless are wondering why their government is still paying billions to stop a weed from growing

  2. Reply

    John Bonnes

    Just a quick question. Did you feel the same way at any of Bush’s press conferences? No matter what Bush was talking about he always had a laugh in there at some point weather talking about Iraq, the economy or anything else.

    Obviously you don’t support this president or his plans and actions and that ‘s fine but do you give him credit for being more open about his administration and attempting to take action on a variety of issues? Don’t get me wrong I don’t agree with allot of his actions but its nice to have someone willing to try something and not just kinda sitting around.

  3. Reply

    Greg Slepak Post author

    I respect Obama far more than Bush, and I’m very supportive of some of his plans, and I love many of his speeches (I voted for him). The problem is that he was too convincing, I honestly believed that we finally had an intelligent, open-minded, honest individual occupying the Presidency.

    When I heard him say in a speech that “..promoting science is about … letting scientists do their jobs, free from coercion, and listening to what they tell us, even when it’s inconvenient — especially when it’s inconvenient. It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda. And that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology.” I was completely taken in, enthusiastic that this was someone who would make decisions based on facts, reason, and principles such as “freedom”.

    The reason that I’m so shocked is that his response yesterday is solid proof to me that Obama really does speak out of both sides of his mouth. Laughing at the issue of legalization, at the thousands of people who asked, at the millions of people who have suffered or lost their lives because of prohibition, and at the massive body of history and science on the topic, is simply inexcusable, especially for someone in his position.

  4. Reply

    John Bonnes


    First thanks for your response.

    I see where you are coming from but the fact is that he still has a job to do and while there may be a vocal minority wanting the legalization he can’t been seen as to seriously considering it because it would be political suicide this early in his administration. He would be labeled as the drug president. The news media, and not just the propaganda spewing Fox news, would be over him like white on rice and for at leas the next 6 months to a year he would be hard pressed to make the required changes when members of either political party would wish to associate with him in fear of being voted out of office by their people back home.

    At this time even with his high popularity ratings supporting something like this with absolute no chance of getting it passed in either the house or the senate would be suicide and any other changes the country needs to have done would have to wait until the next election 4 years hence and by that time the damage done might be too severe to recover from in the next 10 years.

    Not sure if my rambling makes any sense but that’s my perspective on it.

  5. Reply

    Greg Slepak Post author

    John, I understand what you’re saying, and it may very well be possible that Obama was lying through his teeth in that video about his real feelings on the issue.

    But that brings up several problems:

    – He’s deliberately lying and thereby supporting a very destructive war (and it is a war) because he is afraid of the reaction from those bigots who support it. This alone would be reason to have no respect for the man.

    – He knowingly is saying one thing (“we should listen to reason, and the results of science”), and then in a feat of incredible hypocrisy doing the exact opposite.

    – He’s a poor leader. A good leader stands up for what’s right, for human rights, stands against discrimination etc., and is not afraid of the reaction from his opponents because the truth is on his side. Perhaps leader, or “good leader”, isn’t quite the word I’m looking for (i.e. Hitler was very good at leading people), but hopefully you get what I’m trying to say.

    And if he honestly believes that we should maintain the War on Drugs, that simply means he’s an ignorant and close-minded (perhaps brainwashed) man (at least on this subject), who still talks out of both sides of his mouth.

    I don’t believe that if he stood up and supported the issue, that we would be set back “10 years”. Great leaders like Ghandi and Martin Luther Kind are my evidence for this, because they did exactly that, they stood up against the status quo in support of the rights and liberties of the individual, fighting the reaction against them though non-violent means, and eventually triumphing because the people and the truth were on their side. These leaders did not set their respective countries back, they were the principle reason that those countries leaped forward.

    Obama did a very good job of sounding like them, but it’s clear to me now that he’s simply a con-man. He is not revolutionary, he is not real “change”, he is simply-put, a bit better than the garbage we had before.

    I must admit also that I may simply be suffering from high-expectations, again, because of how impressed I’ve been with many of his speeches. Perhaps I should take everything he says with the same grain of salt that most take with the words of all politicians. It may very well be political-suicide for him to come out in support of something like legalization, but at least then there would be a much better chance of it actually happening, and he would be worthy of great respect for doing so.

    However, I’m not even asking that he outright support legalization. He could have responded to the question, without fear of complete political-suicide, by saying something along the lines of, “That’s certainly an interesting viewpoint, and although the government’s position on this issue is ‘no’, as many Americans seem to think this is something worth discussing, perhaps we could discuss it.” He didn’t though, instead his response was to laugh and outright dismiss the entire issue as if it were total lunacy being proposed by a small group of pot-smoking eighth graders.

    That’s the sort of stuff that really can set us back 10 years.

  6. Reply



    Yes, you are exhibiting some naivete but not necessarily an unjustifiable amount of it.

    A problem with campaigning for a first-time Presidential term is that you do not, and cannot, have a clue what you’re really getting into. There is an extraordinary lack of specific information that, were it known before the election and inauguration, all candidates would have to run entirely different campaigns — namely, make many fewer grandiose promises that they can’t deliver on.

    This is more than likely a big part of the reason why a lot of campaign promises never get fulfilled.

    That doesn’t explain the chuckling at the marijuana question, of course. That could be a very simple case of, “Oh crap, I have no prepared answer for this and I’m screwed no matter what I say, but I have to say something.” And nothing that was done or said at the time on the subject negates the possibility of a change in position later. He was on the spot and didn’t handle it as well as he might have. Hardly a skewering offense under the circumstances, most of which none of us are even aware of.

    In any case, Obama’s got a long way to fall before approaching the kind of place we’d be living in under Cheney’s rule.

    As for the naivete now…

    Every person that ever socializes with people with divergent causes, especially politicians and including MLK and Gandhi, will at some point appear to someone to speak out of both sides of their mouth. While I’m not saying I like it in any way, the fact is that hypocrisy is a part of life in the society we live in. If you haven’t committed it yourself, even in some small degree, you just haven’t been around long enough and/or no one’s told you that they think you did so (the latter usually being what happens before you figure it out yourself).

    Nothing in life is black and white. Even less so in politics of any kind.

  7. Reply

    Greg Slepak Post author

    Jim, thank you for your thoughtful comment. Generally speaking I agree with you on most of the points that you raised, and I definitely agree that “nothing in life is black and white.”

    Still, I feel that for someone as intelligent as Obama and the team of experts behind him, the response that he gave was a bad decision. He had plenty of time to prepare an answer for that incredibly important question, but he failed to deliver any sort of wisdom on the subject, instead choosing a path that supports the War on Drugs. I disagree in that I do not feel that what he said left room for further discussion of the topic.

    I think that any reasonably intelligent person that studies the effects, efficacy, history, and philosophy of the War on Drugs, and the arguments for and against it, will invariable arrive at the conclusion that it is a terrible thing and must be stopped. In the same exact sense that slavery was a bad idea and an affront to human rights, so has the War on Drugs been too. Perhaps not nearly as severe or pronounced, but still an affront to notions of what it means to be a free society, with very serious consequences. Sometimes I get the feeling that people, even those that support the notion of legalization, seem to want to keep the discussion at a very academic, philosophical, or political level. They seem to forget entirely that people have died, families have been devastated, and lives have been permanently ruined due to this “war.” I have a feeling that they would change their tune if they themselves were personally affected by it.

    Thus, for ideological reasons in support of basic human rights, I will support any motion in the direction of progress, and oppose steps that I feel lead us in the opposite direction. Outright criticism of the War on Drugs is political suicide, even questioning whether it’s a “good thing” might be bad, but slamming the door shut on the issue in a time that has never been so ripe for discussing it, can only be viewed as a huge mistake. I hope he changes his tune.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *