The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review the medical marijuana case of Ashcroft vs. Raich. This issue, perhaps more than any other, shines the spotlight on the Kafkaesque, schizophrenic, talking-out-of-both-sides-of-the-mouth nature of today’s conservatives. Where to begin…
Limited Government – that old favorite all-purpose slogan (and all its variations). Community leaders ask a developer to scale back a huge project in order to mitigate the resulting traffic and overcrowding – “that’s too much government.” Public safety advocates push for safer working conditions at a factory – “get the government off our backs.” “Let the market forces decide,” etc. In short, if that nosy old government will just back off, stay the *#&*#*# out of the way and let the chips fall where they may, everything will be fine. Unless a terminally ill cancer patient smokes marijuana to ease the nausea from chemotherapy. Then suddenly it’s Oh My God, Emergency!!!, Call in the government!!!
States’ Rights – the conservative rallying cry since the 1950s. When a state’s voters do something contrary to the conservative mindset, conservative politicians apparently have no trouble accessing one of their alternate personalities and clamoring for the federal government to go in and steamroll over that pesky little whippersnapper.
Cost/Benefit Analysis. This was a favorite Republican rallying cry during Clinton’s presidency. Cleaner air, cleaner water, worker safety – any program that might mean a 1% profit reduction for a few CEOs would bring out conservatives’ deep concern for taxpayers’ hard-earned money. No matter how many lives a program might save – “let’s see how much this big intrusive government boondoggle is gonna cost.” But when it comes to having the government barge in and interfere with a doctor’s medical advice, money is no object.
There you have it. For a political philosophy centered around limited government, states’ rights and a determination that every tax dollar be spent effectively, the medical marijuana issue should be a slam dunk.
Karma. There’s a loaded word. Regardless of anyone’s religious beliefs (or lack thereof) or belief in anything beyond the five senses, everyone probably believes to some degree that “what goes around comes around.” For the John Ashcrofts among us (yes I know he’s gone but his fingerprints and footprints will be with us for decades), how could there not be that nagging little fear of reaping what you’ve sown? Perhaps the DEA agent who plans a raid on a medical clinic full of terminally ill patients smoking marijuana is sowing the seeds for his own diagnosis of “there’s a spot on this X-ray. We’ll need to run further tests.” Or maybe not, but if I was in his position I’d be scared sh#tless.