Why I am No Longer a Republican (and never was a Democrat)

Steve at a Campaign ParadeLet me tell you why I am no longer active in either mainstream party.

I was a Republican activist most of my life for one simple reason – I believe we need to reduce the size of government and its intrusion into our lives. I was what Andrew Sullivan (my favorite political blogger) coined a South Park Republican.

Hell, I was so into it – I even ran for the Minnesota State Legislature.

If you’re a small government guy like me, there are countless reasons to be disenfranchised with the current Republican Party – wiretaps, suspension of habeas corpus, the drug war, the ‘terror’ war, massive government spending, unprecedented debt, and on and on…

This event pushed me over the edge…

My bright and promising 19-year-old nephew was a college Sophomore in 2005. In October of 2005, the local police arrested him for possession of psilocybin mushrooms.

When I first heard the news I thought, ‘shrooms – no big deal – he’ll pay a fine – maybe do a few weeks in county jail – he’ll learn a life lesson – it might even be good for him.

What I discovered over the next few months horrified me.

Drug Classifications

The first thing I learned is that Minnesota, the US federal government, and the UN classify psilocybin mushrooms as a Schedule I narcotic. This means that the government considers them more dangerous than Crack or Methamphetamine. The government considers psilocybin mushrooms as dangerous as Heroin. Anybody with any experience in the counter-culture knows that riding a motorcycle is many times more dangerous than eating psilocybin mushrooms. From 1993 – 2000 there was one confirmed death from ‘magic mushrooms.’ But I digress.

Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

Minnesota has mandatory minimum sentences called guidelines and judges rarely deviate from them. The Democrats and Republicans put the system together in a joint effort to rid the system of discriminatory sentencing.

“The purpose of the sentencing guidelines is to establish rational and consistent sentencing standards which reduce sentencing disparity and ensure that sanctions following conviction of a felony are proportional to the severity of the offense of conviction and the extent of the offender’s criminal history. Equity in sentencing requires (a) that convicted felons similar with respect to relevant sentencing criteria ought to receive similar sanctions, and (b) that convicted felons substantially different from a typical case with respect to relevant criteria ought to receive different sanctions.” As revised August 1, 2004.

This meant the prosecutor – following the letter of the law – charged my nephew with Minnesota’s most severe drug charge – 1st degree controlled substance crime, a charge originally intended for drug kingpins.

How do I know it was intended for drug kingpins?

From the Minnesota Bar…
First-degree offenses were ranked at severity level VIII. These were, in the words of the legislative history, the true drug kingpins, the drug wholesalers. — were viewed to be similar to a person who raped someone using a threat of serious bodily injury.

The only crime considered more severe than possessing psilocybin mushrooms is murder. You Don’t believe me? – Read the Minnesota Sentencing Grid.

Minnesota law treats the possession of psilocybin mushrooms equal to robbing a store and raping the clerk at gunpoint… all in order to ‘reduce sentencing disparity.’ So the next time you hear someone harping about equality, be careful, the solution might make us all equally miserable.

So, a 19-year-old hippy kid – with no criminal history – in a blue state – was facing a mandatory 8 years in prison with no chance of early parole.

This isn’t a kid who was going to ‘make it’ in prison. He is young, thin, blonde, shy, and peaceful. IMHO – sending him to prison would be the cruelest kind of torture.

In the past, I’ve always supported the ‘get tough on crime’ crowd. I thought they would go after murderers, child molesters, and rapists. I didn’t know they viewed mushroom eating college students as a major threat to society.

Look at this situation in Kansas. Does this make sense to you?

So what happened to your nephew?

My brother isn’t wealthy, so they consulted the public defender and he recommended that they attempt to plea bargain the charge to a 2nd degree controlled substance crime, which carried a mandatory 4-year prison sentence. This was unacceptable so my brother tapped his retirement savings and secured the best criminal defense attorney in the Upper Midwest.

The attorney moved to have the evidence suppressed (the mushrooms) because the police violated my nephew’s 4th amendment rights (search and seizure). I’m not going to go into detail about the case, but a judge ruled that the police violated his 4th amendment rights and ordered the evidence suppressed, which meant the prosecution had no case – no mushrooms, no crime.

So my nephew walked – the luckiest kid on earth. But imagine what happens to a kid that doesn’t have a dad willing to spend his retirement savings on his defense?

So what does this mean for my political activism?

It means that I will no longer support a political candidate or party that doesn’t vow to reform the irrational drug laws that are destroying our young people. It leaves me without a political home, except the libertarians, who never recieve more than 1% of the vote – hardly a comforting home.

Remember, the kids we lock up in prison are real people, real people’s children, and real people’s grandchildren. They aren’t statistics on Fox News; they are human beings.

I’d love to hear from the law and order types…

How does society benefit from locking up children for possessing hallucinogens? Locking them in cages where they will likely be beaten and sexually abused for years by real criminals.

  • How do you justify this?
  • Why do they deserve such a heinous punishment?
  • How does society benefit from this?
  • Why aren’t more of us outraged? Is it because it’s usually someone else’s kids?

I recently read that hallucinogens are illegal because they make authority seem funny and there is nothing more threatening to authority than laughing children. Look at the latest terrorism case in Boston. Reporters found the ‘accused terrorists’ jokes at a news conference more unsettling than the over-reaction and incompetence of the City of Boston.

Steve with Jimmy Hoffa Jr.I’ve wanted to do this post for months – and I’ve written it, re-written it, thrown it away, and written it again. Each time I’ve been afraid I’ll be misunderstood. I guess it’s a risk I’ll take.

But let me be very clear…

I am not attempting to pander to Democrats. That party has done nothing to end the drug war and its abuses. I am looking for anyone in either mainstream party to step forward and propose an end to this injustice.

I am not advocating drug use. I am simply questioning the severity of our drug laws while looking for intelligent creative ideas that address the problem.

143 thoughts on “Why I am No Longer a Republican (and never was a Democrat)”

  1. Amen, and Hallelujah! These laws have been devasting the black community for years – grandmothers losing their homes because they allowed a grandchild to stay in their home, and the grandchild got caught with drugs in her home, so she lost her home, all in an effort to take care of her family – something the Republicans say they are pro. I used to belong to an organization that worked to get these laws changed, but I’m disabled and had to quit – wish I had the organization name for you.

  2. I am totally with you on this. I too am a republican… Well sort of… I only stick with the republicans at this point because I hate what the democrats are trying to do to our country. They have no solutions to our problem except to run away from them…

    I think a site that very well may peak your curiosity and address the very issues that you mentioned in this article is: http://leap.cc/

    This website is a group of active and retired law enforcement people who are totally and completely agaist the drug war. The statistics that they provide from this site is amazing and would be worth your visit.

  3. Why do we still have ineffective drug laws and ineffective drug enforcement agencies? Incompetence? Because the problem is too massive and difficult? The truth is that our government is involved in drug importation and distribution. The was admitted by the CIA in the Inspector General Report on Iran Contra in one instance, but US military/intelligence apparatus has a long history of running drugs, and continues to do so to this day. It is the main reason the US is in Afghanistan (most heroin production shifted there just as the US was preparing to go in). It was the same story with the Vietnam War and the Golden Triangle heroin producing areas that the CIA’s ‘Air America’ flew into the US. One need only scratch the surface of the Florida flight schools that trained the alleged 9/11 hijackers to see they are mixed up in CIA-connected drug importation. A plane owned by one of the flight school operators was seized with 42 pounds of heroin about the same time Mohammed Atta came to the school. A CIA-connected plane (registered to a known front company) with homeland security-style markings on it operating out of the same airport that trained the hijackers was seized in Mexico in April carrying 5.5 TONS of cocaine. See http://www.madcowprod.com for details.

    In that context, we have drug laws and drug wars to eliminate the government’s competition in drug smuggling and as a way of neutralizing the poor, since being in prison or on parole or in some cases just having a felony record means you cannot vote. On top of that, more and more corporations are taking advantage of cheap prison (read slave) labor, just as they do in China. Local bail bond companies and other institutions also gnaw the bones of the poor using these laws.

    None of these drug laws are Constitutional of course, as proven by the fact that the government sought a Constitutional Amendment before banning alcohol in 1919, but never bothered when they made other substances and items illegal in the decades that followed. But as the film “Freedom to Fascism” demonstrated, the law does not matter anymore – such as the fact that the government cannot produce a valid law that requires normal citizens to pay unapportioned income tax. What matters in the end is who has the guns and agents to enforce what they claim are laws.

  4. It is an absurd (and horrifying) policy to punish someone for choosing to put a particular substance into their own body, especially under the pretext that doing so is “for their own good”. And it is an outright lie that such a policy is good for society as a whole. More damage is done by the criminally-run black market created and empowered by the illegality of drugs, which keeps drug prices artificially high and insures the economic motivation to deal drugs in spite of the danger, than the drugs themselves. Furthermore, the constitution does not give the federal government this power. Alcohol prohibition required a constitutional amendment, why not drug prohibition? Nor does the constitution give it the right, see the 10th amednment in the bill of rights, to enforce its laws in states that have decided to try something else, which is what is currently going on in California. The DEA has ridiculous power, just look at the Federal Analogue Act that they pushed through, a terrifyingly ambiguous piece of legislation.

    It is not enough to simply lower the punishments for non-violent drug users; the fact that such behaviour is inherently not criminal must be recognized. The damage that drug use can cause (and it does) should be dealt with as a health problem, not with incaraceration. I am a drug user and in college, like your nephew. I enjoy those psychadelics that nearly put your nephew in prison. I rarely drink alcohol and I don’t smoke cigarettes. I consider my use of substances to be much more responsible than the use of many of my peers. I am far more educated than most about the substances I choose to put into my body. It was necessary for me to educate myself because the government-run education programs, with their emphasis on abstinence, are fallacious on numerous levels. They do not even allow for the possibility of responsible use, and most people incorrectly believe this to be the case along with numerous other lies about drugs, drug use and drug users. I’m tired of being at worst a criminal, at best a deviant, in the eyes of many because of the irresponsibility of three groups of people: the drug addicts, the “tough-on-drugs” politicians, and the politicians who don’t have the balls to stop this travesty.

    “Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.”
    – Abraham Lincoln

  5. I think all drugs should be legal and none of the governments damn business. Sure some people will ruin their lives and some will kill themselves but really who gives a damn if a few million losers screw themselves? Our present policy is simply slowing down the process of natural selection. By doing so we are simply putting off the inevitable. People that can’t use a drug without abusing it and killing themselves seldom die of old age. If the drugs don’t get them then prison, Aids, driving drunk or drinking lighter fluid will eventually get them. In the meantime the drug laws, cops, lawyers and prisons are not only costing us a fortune but also ruining the lives of a lot of people that could be helped with treatment. It’s time to get real and end the drug war. We’ve been trying to legislate this problem away for 70 years now and it gets nothing but worse. Time for a new approach.

  6. Lots of terrific, intelligent comments here…

    I can empathize with those who are angry at Steve for only waking up to the insanity of the War on Drugs after its insane laws affected someone close to him. But while part of me feels their anger, a greater part of me feels glad that another person has woken up, and spoken out about it in a forum where many people are apparently listening. My desire for real justice (i.e. abolishing laws of aggression so that no more are harmed by them) outweighs my desire for poetic justice (seeing those who’ve long supported those laws get a taste of them). When someone lifts his or her head far enough above the herd and looks around questioningly enough to have this kind of political epiphany, I find my faith in humanity reaffirmed.

    A few brief thoughts also on the “wasted vote” concept. Your or my one vote is unlikely to decide the outcome of even a small local election, let alone a national one. In the closest national election in recent memory, you would have had to get several hundred people to change their votes in order to affect the outcome. And even then it only would have worked if they all lived in Florida. When you vote for an alternative party (“third party” implies there can only be three parties, which is only slightly better than thinking there can only be two), your vote goes proportionally farther, because you’re adding it to a smaller total. There is no glory to be had in voting for a winning candidate, and no shame in voting for someone who does not win. The only shame is in voting for a candidate who you believe is not the best candidate running. Forget trying to guess how other people are going to vote and trying to “game” the system — most voters are trying to do this, and the result is that they themselves end up the victims of their machinations. Neither the grassroots Democrats nor the grassroots Republicans feel well represented by their party’s leaders in Washington, nor usually even at the state level. But as long as they continue to value winning over principle, and lack the integrity to vote for the candidate or party they believe to have the best solutions, regardless of his/her/its chances of winning, they (and the country) will continue to get mediocre leadership.

    Finally, if you Steve or any of your readers want to understand the root premises underlying libertarian political ideas, I strongly urge you to check out this animation (having your computer’s sound turned on is nice, but not necessary): http://www.isil.org/resources/introduction.swf

  7. Hi —

    Like Starchild, I can empathize with people who are angry that it took having someone close to you endangered for you to wake up to this. I’ve been aware of it my whole life, so… In any case, I’m always grateful for one more lightbulb going on.

    Great comments on the constitutionality of anti-drug laws! They were thought to be of questionable constitutionality even by their proponents (at first) and so they were gradually introduced via taxation of drugs, regulation of providers, and so on. It’s an interesting story. I saw a documentary on this recently.

    I question whether there aren’t other areas in which we are blind to injustice and oppression that is visited on others. The thought came because of several mentions of Libertarianism. Although I’m not opposed to capitalism per se, the effect of globalism (that is, the domination by US/Multinational corporations of the global South through enforced structural readjustment, IMF policy, expoitive trade treaties, etc.) has been rapacious. This has been well documented by Stiglitz and others.

    I imagine Libertarians are generally against trade barriers, tarifs, etc., anything that countries use to curb corporate excess, because they limit the “free market.” However, I’m sure there are a lot of different flavors of Libertarianism.

    So I hope that we may keep in mind our “nephews” in developing countries. Like Steve’s nephew, like every human being, they deserve justice. I suspect that the economic system advocated by many Libertarians is inimical to the well being of those segments of the world’s population. Unlike Steve’s nephew, who had significant social resources to draw on in his defense, they are a little more removed from our daily experience. That does not make their exploitation any less repugnant.

    It’s easy for people in the West, especially the US, to ignore the economic exploitation happening in other parts of the world, an exploitation which benefits US corporations and global economic elites. Our failure to rectify those radical inequalities makes us vulnerable to the kinds of criticisms and anger levelled at Steve. How have we allowed it to continue? At what point is our ignorance voluntary and self-serving? And it makes us targets for those whose anger propels them to violence.

    Well, I veered off-topic a bit, but at least most of us — now +1, welcome Steve — appear to be opposed to the outrageous in-justice system and its draconian drug laws.

  8. Dear Steve,

    I am a Mom and a Democrat who grew up during Watergate and Vietnam.

    There are a lot of things that need changing in this world. YOU can start with this. Take your frustration and energy and get the law changed and updated. Do the research, go door to door, tell your story and get it on the ballot. I would also research some other outdated ridiculous laws from the 1900’s that are still on the books and include them in your reformation platform.

    Start small. Keep your statistics updated. Maybe even offer stiffer sentences for other new drugs that are a REAL threat to people. (The “Establishment” is often behind on the current drug situation. You can help update them on that level also.) You will be surprised at how many people will listen to logic. Encourage students to get out and vote. Get help from others who believe in your cause. There is nothing better for this country than people who think and vote with knowledge, no matter what their political bend. In the end we all want what is right and just for everyone, not just a few.

    I would love to see you turn your “reality check” into action. Please write me and let me know what you are doing.

  9. Voting for Libertarians or the Greens is not a wasted vote. Granted that these parties don’t have elected representatives in the congress yet, but every journey begins with the first step.

    If you haven’t seen already, check out the excellent movie “An Unreasonable Man”. As more Dems and Reps realize the dysfunctional relationship with their parties and start voting for the other parties, the day is not far when these smaller parties will have some representation in the congress and able to influence decision making. If your significant other treated you like the two major parties treat their voters, is it healthier for you to continue in that relationship when there are other suitors around?

    Check out Instant Run-Voting and act to implement it in your state.
    Write to the editors to include third-party candidates in PUBLIC debates.

    It’s a start. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and if the two parties have spent years to erode democracy, things won’t change so soon. But, continuing to support them will make sure that things don’t change at all.

    -amit

  10. Thank you for sharing. Republicans and Democrats are just two sides of the same coin. We need more stories like this to wake the people up. I have always considered myself ‘liberal’ because I oppose the drug, support civil liberties and abortion rights, am disgusted at the theocracy that so many Republicans are striving for, etc. Then again, I guess I could side with the Republicans because I believe that less government is ALWAYS better government…and that is not a ‘reductio ad absurdum.’ If the brainwashed masses were smart enough to see that their entire realities were being controlled by the powers behind the powers we see on TV, there just MIGHT be hope that our intellectual and spiritual evolutions would progress to a point where we could live as nature intended, without ANY kind of government control that each individual did not explicitly agree to.

  11. Christ to the people all about, “You didn’t care until it happened to you.” So, when you people get aids or cancer, become paralyzed, get some life threatening disease, your kids kidnapped, your shit stolen or become homeless or starving . . . I hope you were all the same people that gave money for cancer, aids, paralysis and disease research. I hope you were on search parties, I hope you helped people out whose houses were destroyed by natural disastors, and I hope you fed the people starving on the streets. I bet that most of you haven’t. How in the world are we supposed to be perfect and care about everything in this world that hasn’t happened to us, especially the things we are unaware of? The mutilations in other countries . . . what have you done to prevent it? I’m sure you would do something if it happened to you, though. Right?

  12. Here’s a hint, don’t be a Republican, don’t be a Democrat, don’t be a Liberterian. Be a swing voter, vote for whom ever offers the best solutions for society at the time, vote out of office anybody who is doing a bad job, regardless of party affiliations. Consider independents. Government, it is not a game, it is not a sporting event, do not get caught up in barracking for a political party. When you do support a particular candidate, and when you do vote, consider the whole of your society and just not your own needs. Be a citizen with a conscious and force your politicians to be the same.

  13. You must be under the impression that you live in a free country. Sorry to be the one to tell you, but you don’t. All the blogs in the world are not going to change the situation. Too much money to be made suppressing our right to do what we want with our own bodies. Unless we have a real revolution, nothing will change.

  14. My best friend is currently being prosecuted by the state for trafficking narcotics. These drugs however, are his prescribed medicines that he takes for pain relief from back-surgery a couple years ago. Unfortunately, since he was carrying all of his different prescribed pills in ONE bottle . . . it is a crime and he too is facing 8 years in prison. He cannot afford a proper defense and all we can do now is pray that the courts do the right thing.

  15. First I am glad that it ended O.K for your nephew, it just made me think about all the people that go to jail simply for lack of money to pay to a good defense attorney.

    As for the wish for a minimal government, the people’s fear makes them run to the leaders asking them to take care of them, ground them if needed just be a strong “parent” that can make all the bad things go away.

    It is like all the adult, independent and individual beings that wanted freedom to act prefer to be protected against the storm of life more then the ability to act on their own. Sort of psychological regression.

  16. Settle down “CA Jake.” Knee Jerk activism and total altruism are far from exclusively positive things. I certainly hope you’re not advocating any sort of compulsory activism either. The author isn’t exactly saying that it was a good thing that he didn’t think of this until it happened to his family. But this is how certain issues of course become sharper in people’s minds. People are remarkably altruistic, more than to be expected, and sometimes this leads to busy bodies and know it alls. Think of the “everyone has aids number” from Team America. A selfishness that undersatnads consequences and therefore takes responsibility can prevent a lot. The problem is when laws start circumventing and sabotaging this natural function.

    Cool website. I know just how Olsen feels. In grad school I had to abandon the hard left, for the sake of my sanity. But I could never ever support the neo cons.

  17. I’m glad you commented on the dysfunctional prison system in this country. It’s ridiculous that Taxpayers should support (it costs $30,000-$40,000 dollars per year per inmate) societal miscreants and sociopaths. How about we make distant Alaskan island a prison colony and leave the most dangerous to their own devices and to try to survive in nature. Plus, all we’d have to pay is to have a ship patrol the island.

  18. Good for you. It’s very American to stand up to oppression. Nice to see. I’d say this one time you folks have to support Obama just to make sure the Republicans are destroyed this election. Then work on your 3rd party or go rebuild a new and more Constitution friendly Republican party. If McCain and Palin get in you’ll be screwed I’m sorry to say.
    Soft drug (shrooms, pot) are a litmus test of liberty for a country. America fails. Canada is on the edge.
    My solution is to open a state/provincial law book in word, copy the underage booze laws to a new section, then do a search/replace and change all booze references to pot/shrooms.
    Thus if your caught giving an underage person a joint you get a fine. If you keep doing it you do jail time. If your a kid and get caught it gets confinscated and you get a fine and shit from your folks. Kinda simple.
    Then you go after the hard stuff.
    Good luck

  19. You make an excellent case for badly needed reform of our drug laws. But why leave the Republican Party over an issue that is not part of the Republican platform (and — to be fair — not part of the Democratic platform either)? Rather than hoping that 1% of Libertarian Party votes somehow shoots up to 51% in the forseeable future, lobby for your specific concerns. Do you really endorse every position of the Libertarian Party? I am biased as a libertarian-leaning Republican, but I think issues about individual freedoms can resonant well within the Republican party if you you give it a chance.

  20. Jimbo,

    This incident was my catalyst. My disaffection is now about so much more than drug laws. The Republican Party stands for nothing right now, not even free markets. I did go back this year to support Ron Paul and was elected to the Minnesota State Republican convention. After the things I witnessed, I’m done with the Republican Party until something major changes.

  21. Amazing. Truly amazing. I have always thought that drug USERS should not be treated the same as drug DEALERS, or for that matter, murderers and rapists and child abusers. THOSE people are the ones who are a danger to our society, not some college kids getting high.
    Ridiculous.

  22. I feel for this guy and his family. But it’s a shame it took his nephew almost spending 8 years in prison for him to wake up.

  23. Steve, there is no way to change the system. It is self-perpetuating. What must be done is to remove yourself from the system. That is no easy feat to achieve, so you need to start by gathering like minded individuals to yourself and learning about the legal ways to remove yourself from the system. It’s all in the law you just need to look. If you can’t govern yourself then you must submit to being governed by an outside force. That force being, for us, the established government. That force for our forefathers was the English Crown.

  24. I don’t usually write comments, but this is one of the best drug law reform articles I’ve read. The fact that you’re a former Republican and not some hippie or raver or whatever adds tremendous credibility to your writing. Not to mention it’s obvious you put a lot of time into it. It’s very well written.

    I had no idea some states have such harsh laws. As someone who did his fair share of drugs in college (mostly just pot and shrooms), stuff like this scares me in the same way as when I almost get hit by a car. So easy, so deadly, so pointless . . . .

    Keep fighting the good fight.

  25. Gee, maybe he should not have been messing with hallucinogenic mushrooms in the first place since it IS against the law!

    I find it interesting how the article fails to mention or plays down the fact that all of this started because the kid broke the law.

  26. When I think “Small government,” I think a government that keeps itself out of people’s private lives, and only intervernes when the “commons” are threatened.

    To me that means, you don’t tell people whether to smoke pot or not, who to marry, how to worship, or how to paint their house, but you do keep people from dumping trash into the water supply, you stop them from engaging in asinine pyramid-scheme-level economic endeavors that affect banking, communications, and other infrastructure.

    Mushrooms and pot won’t make anyone become insane and hurt anyone.

    Banking practices based on allowing people with too much money to prey on those without, are likely to cause more deaths and more upset.

  27. I agree that the “war on drugs” is useless and wasteful. The drug laws in this country are insane. But what bothers me mostly about this post is that it seems that most people don’t give a crap about something until it knocks at their door and affects someone in their life. This person was a republican who supported strict laws and then the second it affects a loved one he sits back and realizes that REAL people are getting screwed everyday- no shit! But no one thinks about it or cares, until it happens to them. Sort of like people who criticize unemployment benefits…until they need them. Or like people who criticize the uninsured….until they are uninsured. And then it suddenly dawns on them that these things can happen to anyone. It just annoys me with their johnny-come-lately “only when it happens to me” outrage.

  28. The drug laws are a vestige of the “I’m-not-soft-on-crime” political calculus of most mainstream politicians, which is in turn a response to the popular lumping together of crime and drugs into one big heinous mass. Senator Jim Webb (D – Virginia) is one of the few politicians with the courage to take on the issue of sentencing reform, and I will applaud him here for that.

    While majorities of both parties have failed on this front, on this issue I think “Freedom”(Steve) would at least not be out of place in the Democratic party. I would encourage him to view both party’s failure on this issue not as a reason to give up on politics, but as a reason to go into politics. His decision is our loss.

  29. You know what, I like to pride myself on my ‘extreme-liberalism’- however, I totally 100% agree with what you have to say, and you pose a very decent argument.

    Respect!

  30. Hello,

    I am actually a substance abuse counselor who agrees with you 100%. Those consumed with the drug war, have allowed common sense to go out the window. Drug use is not okay, but it is not on the same level as murder or child molestation, either. It needs to be discouraged, and addiction needs to be treated, but in most cases, incarceration should not even be an option. Alcoholism and nicotine addiction are similar problems, and neither include prison or jail time unless impaired driving is involved, which is a different issue, but one that is still not equal to murder, or even close in most cases. Glad your nephew has people who love him enough to protect him, but what about all of those who don’t. It is downright scary. Valerie

  31. I am still a republican but I lean heavily libertarian..My dear friend had drug problems, severe addiction, I feel prison exacerbated the problem. He died last year!

  32. Our so called war on drugs is just another failed prohibition! It has ruined America, Columbia and now Mexico.

  33. I was a republican because the government is too big? You have a simplistic belief and so you choose to support the party of simplistic lies (“fight em over there so we don’t have to fight em over here”) and then you’re disillusioned. I have no sympathy for you.

  34. I am so happy to hear that your nephew was not put into a system where he had no chance or making it out, I happen to agree with you and happened to wear the same political tag as you before many events which have unfolded in the last decade did.

    I am happy to see more people waking up, and maybe together we can field a new party or reform an existing one and take back our liberty.

    I to am disheartened by the current state of affairs, and for the state of affairs on the right side of the isle. I find myself drifting from a constitutional conservative to a libertarian every day.

    My thoughts and prayers for you and yours, and all those going through what your nephew did, but do not have the means to catch a break.

    God Bless.

  35. I’m greatly relieved your nephew was able to avoid prison, and I’m grieved so many less fortunate have to experience the travesty of our judicial system. I’m also very pleased your blog has touched a nerve with so many and obliged them to respond. I agree with those that say our system requires you to choose between our two parties. Feeling at home is not an option for most people. We have to find the one that is most likely to move in the direction we prefer however imperfectly. This doesn’t mean you don’t give some support to other parties and groups. Just that you recognize the reality of our system and that you have to work within the larger the group. To me it is obvious, of the two parties, the Democratic party is more willing to compromise, less dogmatic, and more open to change. It is the party most likely to be reasonable.

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