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Welfare Cowboys and Weed

Rep. Stephen Alford speaking at a weekend legislative coffee session with constituents.

Living in a completely red state like Kansas leaves one in a state of constant nervousness when a particularly idiotic politician blurts out something racist like “the character and makeup–their genetics and that” in reference to why marijuana was made illegal in the 1930’s. Stephen Alford, a Kansas representative from Ulysses, a farmer, made this comment to elderly-man-whitesplain how these negros just can’t handle the marijuana. One sees the comment, and you are saying to yourself “please don’t be from Kansas, please don’t be from Kansas…… “Oh shit. He’s of course from Kansas. The state of my birth , Missouri, gives us guys who say things like women can shut down pregnancies in the event of rape (we can also cause crop failure, and sometimes you need to swim witches to make sure this isn’t going on). And next door to Missouri, here in Kansas, this flaming dotard made this comment to an obliging group which didn’t even let out audible sighs (or screams) when he uttered it.

Who is this Stephen Alford? Well, one can access the EWG Farm Subsidy Database and insert that farmer/representative’s name and……well, I”ll be! $1,253,427.28 were received as subsidies to that fellow over the time period of ‘95-’16. I wonder what he did with all that government largesse? I’m relieved that as a white elderly man who knows the evils of weed—that he didn’t partake in that vice with that money from the US taxpayer. If he’s like a whole lot of other white dudes in his demographic……. maybe he indulged in some hillbilly heroin–that vice mired in white tragedy, disproportionately hitting the melanin-lacking community. Or perhaps he used it to indulge in some good old American gun-nuttery. If black individuals can’t handle the availability of legal weed, perhaps the demographic Mr. Alford finds himself in shouldn’t be allowed near guns/bullets, female co-workers…..? These guys seem to have some issues with things like, oh, you know, mass shootings and harassment. Of course, Alford wasn’t citing anything besides 1930’s racists who everyone knows aren’t a good source for anything but ambrosia recipes.

It’s perhaps not so astounding that a white farmer from SW Kansas–an area with perhaps some Hispanic individuals, but probably no black voters, would hold antiquated views, but the fact that there is this smarmy let me explain how the world works to you coming from a guy with his hand in the government till in so many ways…..it’s obscene. The lack of empathy is seen as a weakness in many of these red areas. That’s why buffoons like this get elected. They talk tough about “The Other”. The notion of mutual aid falls on deaf ears, but they are always the exception in times of their own personal need. It’s Ayn Rand on Medicare + steroids. And as if it’s not enough to lack empathy, there’s a general revulsion towards gaining knowledge over the lifetime. These men spring from the womb already knowing all they need to know–that they are, and have been, the recipients of a privilege. It permeates everything about them. It’s a privilege that allows them to denigrate huge swaths of the population who have suffered untold affronts to their humanity. All the while doing this in a state of perpetual ignorance, benefiting from the specific aid their kind put in place to cushion lives like their own.

In a strangely related issue–I’m always confused how in the tech world, it is assumed that your phone will be improved each year, your computer will process more items and quicker–but there is no expectation that we will see similar improvement in the lives of our citizens. No path of progress. We have a sterile technological ability to improve devices, but an improvement in alleviating the suffering of others is considered to be impossible. We’ve seen productivity soar and wages stagnate or diminish. The stories perpetuated even on the so called liberal media, celebrate Dickensian “success” stories–kids who escaped poverty by a magical blend of smarts, and luck. The narrative is never one that questions the very design of a society that allows for childhood poverty, homelessness, medical bankruptcies or even death from not being able to afford life saving items like insulin. We all have Star Trek type devices in our hands, but these problems continue to spiral out of control because we haven’t as a society looked at anything more sublime, more beautiful than a linear pursuit of wealth, consumerism and often simple survival for those in the lowest socioeconomic status.

I watched a documentary about a young man, James Freeman–he was intent on suicide if he couldn’t heal himself from the ravages of upper middle class expectations and depression. He went to another country and immersed himself in traditions otherworldly in comparison to his upbringing. It was a fascinating story, but what left me in awe was his emergence at the end when he said he now “looks at the world and doesn’t see matter devoid of spirit”–he sees life in everything, “and an intelligence through the cosmos greater than humans can comprehend.”Compare that thought with,…..ahem, them negros can’s handle the MJ. What kind of thoughts do we need to be having as a society to propel us towards something other than misery and low level pettiness? Our well being, micro and macro depend on a shift.

The Stephen Alfords of the world need to be discarded to the subsidized grain bins of history. The future, if there is one, can not be led by idiots who achieve a status– not through merit, skill or an abiding concern for others. And we should have legalized marijuana, of course.

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Kathleen Wallace writes out of the US Midwest and can be reached at klwallace@riseup.net

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