It is a late summer evening at the Washington estate on Mt. Vernon. Martha sits quietly across the room as George lights a match and lifts it to a pipe he has rested in the side of his mouth. Out of nowhere, a crashing sound is heard from the front entrance as armed militia enter the room and surround them with weapons aimed. George is then forced to his knees and thrown to the ground as his wife is restrained.
This is not how you would expect a President of the United States to be treated but like many of our founding fathers Mr. Washington was guilty of one of the gravest crimes one can commit in modern American society…he was a pot farmer. In fact, cannabis was a major crop in many parts of the colonies in that time.
These days it has become the excuse for police nationwide to raid homes, arrest non-violent individuals, invade foreign countries, and use up our hard earned tax money to fund all kinds of police brutality. After over 40 years since Nixon first coined the phrase “war on drugs” has anything changed?
Traditional values are sometimes a good moral compass to help steady a nation through times of crisis and hardship, but they can also be an excuse to hold on to antiquated prejudices that deny some members of society the equal rights they deserve. So it is with homosexual individuals being discriminated against for their desire to serve this nation with honor.
The policy of don’t ask, don’t tell is not only absurd but by its very nature a violation of basic civil rights, and now the courts have stepped in to confirm what gay and lesbian activists have been saying for quite some time. Two weeks ago District Court Judge Virginia Phillips had the courage to declare this practice unconstitutional and a violation of the first and fifth amendments.
Unfortunately, President Obama doesn’t have the moral courage to take a firm stand on the issue and abolish this practice altogether. He is standing by while Congress debates the issue and is gauging the consequences of allowing gays to openly serve in the military.
Our collective history as human beings has never been a shining example of the better qualities in man. Wars and violence haunt us and ever threaten the dreams of peaceful men. In all our failings, though, a spark has always existed to bring hope for the future and guide us onward to better times.
Those who came before us were no greater than any one of us. They were imperfect men and women striving to create a better world for themselves and their children. They left us with ideas and inventions and paved the way for our modern civilization. They gave us the rule of law and the concept of individual liberty.
As Lincoln said, “…our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Unfortunately, they brought with them slavery, genocide, and war as well. It is a great irony and a testament to the conflicted nature of our struggle to be free.