Open Letter to Randy Brock, Republican Candidate for Lieutenant Governor, in response to his open letter to David Zuckerman, Democratic Candidate for Lieutenant Governor.
Combating racism and bigotry requires the guts to call it out in the open. Leadership and Maturity? That’s debatable. In a legislative body, yes, but change comes in many colors and never always through an orderly process. When I was young and immature we had Rock Against Racism concerts. They were filled with loud music and generally had more pot smoking than cash bars. This did not diminish the awareness and education these events brought to the people, including myself, attending and dancing.
Today, I read your open letter to David Zuckerman berating him for his immaturity. Sir, your gripes regarding tweets and personal attacks seem perfectly arguable, and, your proclamation against negative campaigning reads great. While I do not question your right to gain political points in an election year with clever wordsmith, I am very concerned in doing so you may be omitting some serious history lessons about racism and our drug laws. You do this while seemingly perpetuating your own “false and thoroughly offensive narrative” against long haired hippies and other, some might say less colorful, users of marijuana.
Cannabis/Hemp would never have been prohibited federally through the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 without blatant racist arguments and outright lies made before the U.S. Congress. These racist arguments and lies started well before 1937. Local and State drug laws were used to control minority(some cases majority) populations of Chinese laborers, Mexican farmhands, Black folks, and other current undesirables of the times since 1875. Their effects are being felt well after Hippie and Black Panther hating President Nixon’s first utterance of the words, ‘War on Drugs’ in 1971. (The year of my VW Bus was born.)
At this point I would like to point out that I am not endorsing David Zuckerman; though after your letter I may just have to vote for him. I am on the Marijuana Party ticket running for State Senate. I lean Libertarian but I am speaking for ALL people, directly and indirectly, harmed by pot laws over the last 100 years. Pretty much everybody. Some more acutely than others. Why even in today’s “tolerance” filled environment, marijuana offenders are denied Pell Grants for college while others have lost voting rights. People still can go to prison for pot offenses in all States, even Vermont. Potheads are raped in prison. Your letter trivialize these facts and the very real role racism played and still plays in creating this mess.
A little true story about myself…
I was a pot smoking, dread locked, skirt wearing, deadhead white freak driving a Arizona licensed Ford panel van all over our great country during the depths of Nancy Reagan’s chapter of the War on Drugs. Five of those years I was even on parole. I have lived with a felony record since 1983 for a crime against property. I was eighteen. One day in 1989 I cut off my dread-locks and put pants on. A weird thing happened.
Strangers of all skin colors started smiling and talking to me again in public places. Who knows if any of them were racists, but, they were definitely prejudiced. Is this not a good thing?
What I mean is, is not, me being of low melanin content and with genes which traveled out of Africa thousands of years before yours were stolen from Africa; is it not a good thing I know and experienced this prejudice first hand when trying to understand your own struggles with racism and the legacy of slavery? I know there are differences. White privilege is wrong and is paid for with hate. I totally understand I have a choice to cut my hair and put on nice clothes and that this simple act will allow me to almost fully experience my white privileges. (Almost? Remember, I am a felon.)
When you were a police officer, with what I just described of myself, would you not of given me a second look? Let’s be honest and make fighting racism, prejudice, hate, fear, and bigotry in ALL forms our legacy. This civil war needs to end, and ,make no mistake, sir, the drug war is a civil and racist war. The erosion of respect and attendant violence you’re seeing today is the logical result of decades of demonizing on both sides of this war. At stake is nothing less than our freedom.
Galen Dively III, Marijuana Party
Second Choice for State Senate