Reefer Madness

Arkansas State Senator Jason Rapert, who could not be more aptly named unless he was Jason Genocideopolis, is at it again.

This morning while I hurtled toward Bono, Arkansas, my radio was tuned to the local NPR affiliate, KASU, and I had the distinct pleasure of catching the argumentative stylings of Senator Rapert. Oh boy. What a show.

I cringed at first, then slowly sank into acceptance as his barking drowned out my previous political obsession, which had been that Seal Team Six recently crashed an Osprey (Enclave/Vertibird for you Fallout fans) into Yemen, hopped out, and murdered a bunch of women and children, including an eight-year-old American girl. I had planned on crafting a rage post about why no one is talking about the goddamned horrendous Forever War, but Rapert’s hot coughing idiocy reverberated from my 2003 F150 factory speakers and melted that idea into the shit slough of all my other concerns, which bubble at the base of my brain and periodically produce skull-splitting headaches.

This guy’s claim to fame is his repeated submission of anti-abortion bills, which either get defeated, vetoed by the governor, or passed and declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court, costing Arkansas taxpayers thousands of dollars.

He may be just as notorious for his hard-line stance against LGBT rights, same-sex marriage, and the ability of same-sex couples to adopt. Perhaps he should be even more reviled for his statements on minorities (which, as you will see, include the aforementioned groups and others), such as, “We the majority grant you rights by choice,” and, “We’re not going to allow minorities to run roughshod over what you people believe in,” you people being a group of Tea Partiers he addressed while standing in front of a Gadsden flag.

Wait, his actual claim to fame is threatening to shoot one of his constituents in a Lowe’s parking lot for asking him a fair question about his horrific opinions.

We have the best legislators in Arkansas, just the greatest. We’re also the home of United States Senator (and future President) Captain Tom Cotton, The Boy Who Doesn’t Understand the Constitution, but I digress. This isn’t the Bob and Tom Show, yet. (Did you know the senate offices have fax machines? They do. The numbers are publicly available, and unlike voice mailboxes, which can get full, or letters, which have to be scanned and irradiated, taking weeks to deliver, faxes go through.)

Rapert was interviewed today by a nice guy who let him drone on for way too long without interjecting, but I am grateful. If he’d not allowed J-Rape to take over the airwaves, I wouldn’t have posted this brilliant essay on superstitious white supremacist Arkansas lawmakers who craft draconian legislation.

His most recent effort is an attempt to amend our recent medical marijuana amendment and nullify the will of the people. There was a bit of controversy last November when two competing medical marijuana issues made it onto the ballot. Issue 7 allowed for much more liberty with regard to cultivation and sales, and Issue 6 formed a cartel run by the Arkansas Alcohol Beverage Control Board. Guess which issue got struck down by the Arkansas Supreme Court after early voting had already started? Every vote counts, right?

Issue 6 ultimately passed, and the citizens of Arkansas started subscribing to High Times and knocking down bookstore doors in search of Weed Encyclopedias.  Little did they know (because practically no one read the actual text of the ballot issue), only a handful of cultivators would be allowed. Furthermore, state lawmakers have set astronomical licensing fees to keep Ganja Joe with his drug rug and white man dreads out of the business. If it survives Rapert, the industry is going to be run by old white rich dudes who haven’t smoked reefer since the Jolly Green Giants were napalming hamlets in ‘Nam.

Mr. Rapert’s reasoning is that cultivation and sale of marijuana is illegal under federal law. He took time to point out all the work he’s done to outlaw abortion, which was then struck down by the United States Supreme Court. He also made sure to mention how he’d railed against LGBT rights and been overridden on a national level. “You can’t pick and choose what to enforce,” he said. He claims he’s protecting the citizens of Arkansas from interdiction by federal agents. I’m so glad our wonderful public servants always try to keep us safe (with war, deportations, imprisonment, no health care. Government knows best).

Well, my esteemed Senator, you’ve worked your entire career to take rights away from people. All of your machinations have been to increase tyranny. You don’t want women to have control over their own bodies because of your personal religion. You reference the same when you’re discussing the rights of LGBT people and minorities in Arkansas. Your efforts have always been to solidify the rule of the straight, white, religious right, because the majority rules, in your opinion, when it comes to civil rights.

I’m no Constitutional scholar, but it’s my opinion that the Federal Government’s job is to set a baseline of rights and privileges afforded to Americans, and the states are then free to add to those liberties as their citizens see fit, not tyrannically nullify them. I hear there’s still a U.S. Supreme Court seat open, and I’m available, folks. Just give me a little jingle on the jangle.

In the specific case of marijuana, it is federally illegal, but the majority of states have now either decriminalized it, passed medical provisions for it, or fully legalized it. The states often lead the way when it comes to the rights of Americans (or the destruction thereof by right wing legislatures) and are we now saying we want a more powerful Federal Government? I thought Republicans were in favor of states’ rights? What happened to all these spiels about Big Government? I thought the majority ruled, Jason? Didn’t the majority of Arkansans just vote for medical marijuana?

His points are all massive contradictions because they’re fucking bullshit. People like Jason Rapert are religious despots who foment tyranny in attempt to yield theocracy. That’s the common thread. Hold it as you walk away and all the bluster about federal law unravels to reveal vast disregard for the separation of church and state. It’s not hard to observe the states where legislatures work for the people, and then compare them to states where tin pot dictators have formed banana republics. North Carolina has recently fallen to the march of that drum, and hellishly red states like Arkansas aren’t far behind.

While this isn’t such a huge deal now, in the grand scheme of things, it’s one more stone tied around the neck of our drowning democracy. I’ve long ago given up hope for holding public office. I’m way too big a fan of cusswords and hyperbole. I’ll yell about these assholes all fucking day, though, and as long as Southern Democrats keep running milquetoast DINO Southern Baptists and greasy one-issue nincompoops against Sons of Confederate Veterans and theocrat demagogues, they’re going to lose, hard, every time, then we all lose.