USA - The incoming president will have about 1 million problems to solve. Some of them will require political courage; some of them will require creative thinking; some of them will require delicate diplomacy, and some of them will require strong-arm tactics. Knowing which problems require which solutions is what makes an effective executive.Of course, if said executive also agrees with me, clearly we're in the presence of greatness.

But there are issues that are apparently utterly resistant to change because they have been demagogued to death, and there seems to be no way to undemagogue them. Polls indicate that the American people are way ahead of their legislators on these topics, but the perceived political risk of confronting them is just too great. So they languish, injustices continue to occur, and hopelessness descends.

One good example is medical marijuana. Twelve states have laws permitting its use, and more would follow were it not for the ever-present threat of federal bullyboys coming and busting people who were conscientiously following state laws.

Marijuana eases pain for people who suffer from chronic and terminal diseases. Of course, the possibility of abuse exists, but as long as doctors are allowed to dispense handfuls of far-more-addictive drugs such as Vicodin and OxyContin, it seems like a slim and shallow argument.

In addition, in other places (like Oregon), the feds have overstepped the bounds of both the law and common decency by, for instance, denying organ transplants to people arrested for using medical marijuana. This outrageous de facto death penalty could be eliminated by presidential edict. Will it?

Will a politician risk being called a pot-smoking hippie by paid political hit men? Not sure.



Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2008 San Francisco Chronicle
Contact: letters@sfchronicle.com
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