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July 07, 2014

Random Thoughts on America's Recent Birthday

238 years ago, 13 British colonies on the Atlantic seaboard of North America declared themselves independent of British rule in a document now famous as the Declaration of Independence. Its author, Thomas Jefferson went on to become one of the founders of the new nation and its 3rd President.

Recently, DNA evidence confirmed that following the death of his wife, Martha, Jefferson had several children by Sally Hemings, a woman of color who was both his slave and Martha's half sister. Such tangled relationships were probably not rare, given the degree to which chattel slavery had become essential to the economy of Southern colonies before our successful rebellion against British rule. There can also be little doubt that our forefathers' dependence on chattel slavery has adversely affected our development as a nation. As W.E.B. DuBois noted in 1896, the 3/5 compromise, resolved the deadlock over slavery and enabled our founders to finish drafting their Constitution in 1787, but was ultimately responsible for the bitter Civil War we were lucky to survive. Sadly, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln almost immediately following his reelection in 1865 deprived us of his leadership during the critical Reconstruction era.

In 1896, the Supreme Court's thoughtless Plessy decision essentially re-enslaved blacks by trapping them in the sharecropping economy of the "deep" South. The continuing rancor of Southern Democrats was also painfully evident throughout the first half of the 20th century. Indeed, it was not until after World War II that the Armed Forces were desegregated by Harry Truman's Executive Order in 1947- at about the same time that the color line in baseball was broken by Jackie Robinson.

Although progress in race relations in the United States since the end of WW2 has been slow, difficult, and erratic; "African-Americans' now have the right to vote and their civil rights are protected, albeit better in some states than others. However it's already been a Century and a half since the Civil War ended. There's also little doubt that Republican “red" states (predominantly ex-Confederate) still discriminate and there's also significant income and educational disparity on he national level.

Shifting to our history as a species- humans remain conspicuously vulnerable to jealousy, greed, and insecurity. The UN now enforces a a major anomaly of American Law, the War on Drugs ;despite it's well-known record of failure.

Finally, we also have abundant evidence that we have dangerously overpopulated our species' only available habitat for the foreseeable future, yet humans obviously find waging war against each other preferable to reaching agreement.

Ironically there is now a biracial President in the White House (who is nonetheless seen as black in most "red" states}. Safely reelected to a second term in 2012, he would to have little to lose- and predictably much to gain- by endorsing cannabis legalization.

I base that opinion on a study of (now) over 7000 cannabis users revealing that paternal participation in the life of their children is particularly important to their self-esteem and early adolescent behavior.

Finally, Obama's own adolescent pot use as a member of the Choom Gang should be pointed out to him within the context of his own upbringing. He's certainly smart enough to understand that ending Tricky Dick's punitive drug war will look a lot better on his ex-Presidential resume than having had that chance and wimping out.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at July 7, 2014 05:38 PM