Today, we debate an issue very near and dear to my heart (not really, but it’s so high-profile I really should give a shit about it): the legalization of marijuana. This is an issue with so much youth support, it was a struggle to find someone to argue against me, but, luckily, I come from a repressed, uptight state that is one election away from a Theocracy so it wasn’t too hard to find someone to be against marijuana legalization for “moral reasons.” The same way Alabama is one of only three states that doesn’t sell lottery tickets, no matter how much revenue it would bring to the state.
Brody: Welcome, welcome…what would you like your alias to be? Anti-legalization Leslie? Prohibition Paula? Square Stephanie? Against profits Agatha?
Opponent: Ha, please not Agatha, I’m not that old. Just try not to do anything too insulting.
Brody: Sure. [Mentally I decide on Wet Blanket Wanda.] So legalizing pot makes perfect legal, criminal, medical, and financial sense. I can argue each of these points individually in a very respectful way or I can scream at you for being an idiot that opposes it. Which do you prefer?
Wet Blanket Wanda: The first one please. But I would argue that it doesn’t make legal or criminal or medical sense, and the money’s not nearly as important as the morals.
Brody: Sigh…morals? Really? Here we go. Always with the fucking morals…
Wet Blanket Wanda: lol, sorry my morality is so old-fashioned for you.
Brody: And stale, and tired, and cliche, and pretty much the only thing anyone in this region of the country pretends to care about. It’s really exhausting.
Wet Blanket Wanda: Why do you say that?
Brody: Because there’s really no way to have a rational conversation about it. People say “Myyyyyy Mo-rals won’t allllllow this,” and it’s just…I mean how do you argue against that? Morality is extremely subjective, and the restrictions you put on yourself are your own, and how can you debate against somebody who refuses to eat carrots? That’s their personal choice, but it bares little reaction to facts, charts, graphs, information, reason, etc.
Wet Blanket Wanda: Morality isn’t subjective. There is right and wrong, and legalizing marijuana is wrong.
Brody: Sigh [my head hits the desk I’m typing on. A full minute goes by without me typing anything.]
Wet Blanket Wanda: ?
Brody: Can we just…I mean, can we attempt to insert some facts into this argument? Can we at least say that the money we’re spending to prosecute and imprison non-violent drug offenders is enormous and the money we lose by not taxing this underground industry is even more so?
Wet Blanket Wanda: But to just gloss over the fact that it’s wrong is to really miss the point. It’s like saying “We’re missing out on the taxes every time a robbery takes place, so why isn’t that legal?”
Brody: An enormous false equivalency, as you must know or maybe you don’t…but, you know, Grover Norquist would say that taxes are robbery anyway, so taxing it twice is redundant.
Wet Blanket Wanda: lol, well I can’t fully argue with that.
Brody: How about another fact? Fifty years ago, the prison population was 75 percent violent offenders. Today, it’s less than 25 percent. More than three quarters of our prison population, which is the highest in the civilized world by a mile, are non-violent drug offenders…that doesn’t bother you at all?
Wet Blanket Wanda: These people may not be rapists or murderers but they are breaking the law, and so it’s hard for me to feel that they don’t belong in prison. You would say that tax cheats would belong in prison, but they’re not violent either.
Brody: Yeah, but the federal government hasn’t declared a War on Tax Cheats. The IRS hasn’t pursued white collar crooks nearly as aggressively as the DEA has locked up and incarcerated mid to low level drug traffickers in the last fifty years. The longest war in U.S. history isn’t Afghanistan, it’s the Drug War, and it is costing a fortune.
Wet Blanket Wanda: But what’s the moral cost if we don’t fight it? Just let our country be overrun with drugs and drug users. I believe in help for drug users, but to legalize drugs and make drug use more common? You must be joking.
Brody: Wanda, I’m not joking. The same way they weren’t joking when they made alcohol legal again because prohibition was a nice hypothetical that didn’t work at all in reality. And if you say the word “moral” again in any capacity, I’m going to go urinate on a picture of Pat Robertson. YOUR morality is for YOU to use in YOUR life, not to impose on everyone.