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Jeff Sessions, Jesus Christ and Reefer Madness

Gnome Takes Axe to Drug War Reform

If it’s true, as many smart people have slowly come around to believe, that the bi-partisan trend towards reform would inject some sanity into our criminal justice system, our disastrous drug war and the problem of the mass incarceration of African Americans; if that’s true, then it must be the case that what Attorney General Jeff Sessions is advocating is the opposite of sane. Which is insane. Stark raving madness! The fact that God and Jesus Christ may be implicated in this decision to reverse a sane, bi-partisan trend toward reform . . . well, you know what they say about religion. More people have been slaughtered and oppressed in the history of the world in the name of Jesus Christ than anyone else. Not that we should let Jews or Muslims off the hook. Or even atheists, for that matter. The point is, given a cursory scan of world history -- especially highlights like The Crusades and European Colonialism -- it’s clear more people have been damaged or destroyed by religion than by things like marijuana.

The life of jazz great Louis Armstrong is instructive. Armstrong smoked gage daily from 1920 to his death in 1971. It was an intimate part of his life; it may have been instrumental in the making and performing of some of this country’s greatest musical classics, like "It's a Wonderful World". In a story he apparently told often, Satchmo ran into Vice President Richard Nixon in 1953 in an airport in Japan, where both were touring. “Hi, pops. Can I do anything for you?” Nixon asked. You can carry my instrument case, Satchmo said. The case contained Satchmo’s stash. Later, his wife, Lucille, was arrested for a joint in Hawaii. Given the trickster side of Armstrong liked to tell the story of the vice president of the United States carrying his stash, it’s likely police arrested his wife as a warning for the great jazzman to shut up. The arrest of his wife apparently disturbed Armstrong and upset his mellow.

Louis Armstrong: "Love, baby. Love. That's the secret."

"Can you imagine anyone giving Lucille all of those headaches and grief over … something that grows out in the backyard among the chickens,” he wrote in a letter to his manager. “I don't intend to ever stop smoking it, not as long as it grows. And there is no one on this earth that can ever stop it all from growing. No one but Jesus -- and he wouldn't dare. Because he feels the same way I do about it.”

Religious conservatives like Jeff Sessions get all worked up convincing themselves that secular humanists want to outlaw God just like Sessions wants to outlaw marijuana and other currently illegal drugs. These people need to learn to chill. As Satchmo suggested, God made marijuana. And how could Jesus Christ be against something so helpful to the mellow state of mind of a brilliant black jazzman working in the racist south and elsewhere in America in the middle of the 20th century, a time when Jim Crow and the threat of violence still hung over every black man and woman? Is it pushing the meaning too far, here, to see Satchmo's gage as a positive "medicine" in alleviating the terrors of racism, something that helped a musical genius relax and freed the creative process from repression? Mr. Sessions should think on that.

story | by Dr. Radut