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© 1986-2004

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Ram Dass for President!

Every Delegate, Journalist and Candidate Is a Drug Felon, So Why Not Back the Crazy Stoner?

By MATT WELCH

NewsForChange.com, August 15, 2000

Since today was Tribute to Police Day at the Staples Center, I thought I'd do my best to contribute to the law enforcement effort by asking various people inside the L.A. Convention Center whether they had violated any federal drug laws in the last eight years.

"Uh, eight years? How about 24 hours?" asked one booth monitor along "Democracy Row." Over on "Internet Avenue," things were just as dirty. "Eight years? How about eight minutes?" asked one notable Internet journalist.

In all, my scientific poll proved that roughly 100 percent of all humans deemed fit to enter the complicated barbed wire gates protecting our democratic process from those beer-bellied Jesus freaks had, in fact, used illegal drugs during the Clinton/Gore era ... unless you count the Web TV gal who giggled and said "no comment."

What does this tell us? Certainly, it suggests that our country is being run by dangerous felons. Or at least our "so-called 'official' country," as the Jesus buddies and their anarchist foes would describe it. Decadence is the luxury of the powerful, after all. So I walked down to the so-called Shadow Convention to see if citizens outside the corridors of power held more fidelity toward the law.

Things looked bad when the press-entrance doorman -- an unhinged middle-aged hippy with wild eyes and facial hair -- rummaged around his pockets and said, "Whoops! That isn't marijuana propaganda in my pocket!"

Inside, there were various funny-looking Americans wearing straw hats with little cannabis leaves sticking on them, giving little speeches about convincing the government to let them smoke pot. At the end of the program, the crowd went bonkers when the emcee announced that a person called "Ram Dass" would be giving a speech.

They then wheeled up an old, old man, with a bald clown head and long white hair, red drunk's nose and liver spots everywhere. One hand was clenched in a spastic claw, the other was scratching his face or waving around articulately. The crowd hushed, and waited. For 38 seconds. "I," he said finally, with great effort, before pausing again. For another 40 seconds. "Have spoken all around the world, and ... [pause] ... I've spoken in several other countries ... [pause] ... and I've spoken about consciousness and spirit ... [pause] ... but it's only in California, and now these other states that I can say to my audience ... [pause] ... that my speech ... [pause] ... prior to my speech, I smoked a joint."

The crowd went wild. He spoke about eating mushrooms with Timothy Leary. At one point, he said: "When I was in the hospital my doctors invited me in for a clinical discussion of my case. And I said, 'you don't really understand, because I don't exist.'"

I was appalled, but I had to admit that I, too, was a criminal drug user. Two inhalations of marijuana in three years (including one that put me in a fetal position on the floor, giggling silently as some woman told me a bunch of crucial information about her life) certainly qualifies me. Luckily, I haven't been to jail yet, but neither have Al Gore, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, who have all violated the federal drug laws that they otherwise enforce with vengeance. In fact, due to their vigilance, there are more Americans locked up for drug offenses than there are total prisoners in probably every country except Russia.

They are also predominantly poor and black, or poor and Latino, followed by poor and white, so that means Democrats are losing potential voters. Me? I don't know who to vote for, to make our country safe again from the scourge of drugs. Maybe Ram Dass.

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