Yes on Issue 2, No on Issue 3.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a pretty big advocate of drug legalization. I believe that all available evidence makes prohibition look entirely unreasonable. I believe that if you could walk into CVS and buy anything from marijuana to heroin, fewer people would die of overdoses, more addicts could get help, there’d be far less violent crime, jails would house far fewer criminals, and we’d save a ton of money. There’s really no evidence or even logic to the contrary beyond “drugs are bad… mkay.” The 18th amendment didn’t work and we repealed it a scant 13 years later, then somehow forgot the lessons of history and decided to do it all over again. This time we’ve stuck with it for decades and gotten even more violent crime, poverty, and addiction as a result.
But, I think our nation faces an existential threat. I don’t say that lightly, as people often do. After 9/11 everyone said that Islamic Extremism was a threat to our way of life, but it really wasn’t. Great empires always fall to internal forces.
Depending on your politics, you probably felt that one or both of the last two Presidents presented such a threat. But by many measures we’re better off now than we were 16 years ago, and even the ways in which we are not are due mainly to policies put in place back while W. was still snorting coke and shotgunning beers instead of serving in the National Guard, and Obama was learning to hate America in a madrassa in Kenya.
Our threats are deeper and less obvious than that. It’s not ISIS or Al Queda that will tear our country apart. It isn’t Donald Trump, or whichever Bush or Clinton ends up in the White house. It’s the corrupting power of money on politics.
When our nation was formed, representative democracy and capitalism went hand-in-hand. The great experiment worked. And then something new and virtually unheard of came into existence, the corporation.
Sure a few existed before. And they’d caused some political problems. If you want to spend an afternoon learning about the root of our problem, Google “The Dutch East India Corporation” and prepare to have your mind blown. They literally had a private army, with warships.
But even they had nothing on big oil. Nowadays corporations don’t need to build an army. It’s far cheaper to donate to politicians until they’ll let you write the bills they introduce. Why bother going to war to make sure countries don’t do anything about climate change that might hurt your bottom line when you can just donate to some Republican Senators?
We live in an era in which money is king. Politicians need it to get elected. Corporations have more of it than ever before, by a large margin. Whichever side of the aisle you’re on has been bought and paid for by something.
And that’s the problem. Our representative Democracy is no longer representative, at least not of the populace. It’s representative of the money, which is held in ever increasing percentages by a very small number of people.
Ohio’s Issues 2 and 3 might not seem important. Certainly if 10 guys are granted an oligopoly on farming marijuana, our entire country won’t collapse. The problem, however, is the precedent. For decades, corporations have at least sheepishly tried to hide their purchasing of politicians. What does it now say that they’re just writing their own profit right into the fucking laws?
The article I linked to shows how this goes. A handful of years ago, this guy brazenly got together a group of people to give casinos a monopoly in Ohio. That’s small potatoes compared to weed, which is itself small potatoes compared to whatever comes next. And surely, something will come next. What about when Ford and GM cosponsor the bill that legalizes driverless cars, but only theirs? What happens to Google or Tesla or the next car company that hasn’t been started yet?
I’ll spare you the Econ 101 lesson about what monopolies do and why they’re bad. That isn’t the point here. What they’re not teaching you in college (at least in any class that anyone would take if they wish to be employable after graduation) is the creeping influence of large amounts of money on our political system.
Dan Carlin talks a lot about this in Common Sense and does it better than I could. Go back through his archives and you’ll fall into one of three categories. People who don’t understand it. People who benefit financially from it. And people who will vote yes on 2, no on 3.