See you on the journey

By Warren Wake, Prisoner of the Drug War

Complain, complain. Gripe, gripe. Cuss, cuss. Whine, whine. Sound familiar? It is everywhere in life, but complaining reaches its high point in prison. One can not go through one day of incarceration without hearing the discontent. But how many complainers are actually doing anything about it besides merely expressing their feelings? What would we be able to achieve if as much time and energy spent on complaining were spent on creating solutions?

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Two people complaining to each other has never directly solved any problem, even though there does seem to be a relief of tension by sharing one's misery with someone who is sympathetic to your situation. But the problem remains only to be taken up again the next day. It takes action to solve problems.

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."- Anne Frank.

Millions of Americans believe that the Drug War is wrong. We have complained about it for years. Mostly though, we have spoken with people who already agree with us. How many of us have tried to change another person's mind or to change the mindset of the government? What if the government's view is only what the elected officials think the people really want? What if every American who believes the drug war is causing far more harm than good, helped to educate a half dozen of their friends and family members? Would the War on Some Drugs then die a just and long overdue death?

"A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principle upon which our government was founded." - Abraham Lincoln.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free expects what never was and never will be." - Thomas Jefferson.

How come after decades of fighting the current drugs, the government has not been able to realize and admit that Drug Prohibition does not work?

"In our country are evangelists and zealots of many different political, economic and religious persuasions whose fanatical conviction is that all thought is divinely classified into two kinds - that which is their own and that which is false and dangerous." - Justice Robert H. Jackson.

It is time to stop the harm and start the healing.

"After 20 years on the bench I have concluded that federal drug laws are a disaster. It is time to get the government out of drug enforcement." - Judge Whitman Knapp.

It has been said that if you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem. It is time, today and every day, to start being responsible in this area. No matter how small or how large a step you take, at least take one step.

"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetuate it." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

There are many possibilities for the step one can take. First, one can match one's weekly complaining time with doing something political for the same amount of time each week. Second, one can educate oneself further on the issues. Third, one can educate others by talking, writing letters, writing newspaper and magazine articles, and writing letters to the editor. Fourth, purchase newspapers, magazines, and books that not only educate oneself but also contribute financially to the organizations working for the elimination of the Drug War. Fifth, join a drug reform organization.

"You've got to rattle your cage door. You've got to let them know that you're there, and that you want out. . . You may not win right away, but you'll sure have a lot more fun." - Florence Kennedy. [Ed. note-Perhaps a lot less agony, too.]

Organizations become more powerful with each new member. Instead of procrastinating and not doing anything because one's friends are not, become totally responsible for oneself first. Step out of your comfort zone and start to expand.

"The real freedom of any individual can always be measured by the amount of responsibility which he must assume for his own welfare and security." - Robert Welch.

And if you are asking yourself "What is in it for me?", come to realize that you can not benefit someone else without benefiting yourself, even if it is not obvious. That is what is in it for you, your own benefit.

"We have not passed that subtle line between childhood and adulthood until we move from the passive voice to the active voice - that is, until we have stopped saying, "It got lost", and say, "I lost it." - Sydney J. Harris.

Also forget using the excuse that other people will do it for you and you can just lay back and do more enjoyable and easier activities. That is exactly how freedom is lost. Have you lost your freedom? If so, you should be the first person to stand up for freedom. If you will not do it for yourself, why should anyone else?

"Many people never grow up. They stay all their lives with a passionate need for external authority and guidance, pretending not to trust their own judgment." - Alan Watts.

We have a great country, but too many of us have turned on, tuned in, and dropped out. Thus we have abdicated our power to a minority bunch of hateful, narrow minded, misinformed, prejudiced zealots. It is time to assume control of this country and lead it into an enlightened era. The first step is your step. Set a date for starting and start. See you on the journey.

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." - Albert Einstein.