Festivus for the rest of us!
Seinfeld fans around the world have made Christmas Eve Eve, December 23rd, a holiday in its own right, thanks to Frank Costanza’s creation of Festivus, a holiday “for the rest of us.” According to good ol’ Wikipedia (so it must be true, right?), Festivus originated from the holiday celebration of Seinfeld writer Dan O’Keefe. The holiday parodies the commercialization that has infected Christmas and gained notoriety when featured in the episode “The Strike.” For non-Seinfeld aficionados, Festivus includes a dinner, a non-decorated aluminum pole in place of a tree, Feats of Strength, the telling of non-miracles as “Festivus miracles” and the all-important “Airing of Grievances.”
The Festivus Airing of Grievances has been perfected by Senator Rand Paul, who thanks to his stances on civil liberties, including the ills of federal cannabis prohibition, is one of my personal favorite Republicans. Admittedly, my list of favorite GOP members is relatively short, but it does include California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and Rand’s dad, the Ron Paul.
On a positive note, since that exchange @CoryBooker & I have worked on many criminal justice bills, proving Festivus brings us all together.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) December 23, 2016
Inspired by Senator Paul, I decided to list my Festivus Airing of Grievances from the perspective of a cannabis legalizer. So gather your friends and family around the ol’ Festivus aluminum pole and hear me out, as I air my grievances by counting down from five, followed by Feats of Strength and recounting Festivus Miracles. I consider the human race as one big family, and like Frank Costanza, “I got a lot of problems with you people! Now, you’re gonna hear about it.”
Airing of Grievances
5. Prohibitionist Democrats, I’ll start with you. Every election, you urge people of color and young people to get out and vote for Democrats, even those that support the arrest, prosecution and imprisonment of people for marijuana offenses. Yet, who disproportionately suffers under prohibitionist policies? Young people and people of color! You expect people to enthusiastically support politicians that want to persecute them, or their friends and family, for cannabis? Get real. Cannabis legalization is supported by a majority of Americans and very strong majorities of Democrats, independents and even young Republicans. Many Democrats have had the opportunity to energize their base of voters and pull in new voters, yet they pass on the opportunity. It isn’t a guarantee, but if Hillary Clinton would have evolved on cannabis legalization and joined Bernie Sanders in calling for an end to federal marijuana prohibition, the 2016 presidential election may have turned out differently.
4. Prohibitionist teetotalers, get over yourselves. Many of you act so superior to those that use cannabis, while many of your friends and family members, drink alcohol, smoke tobacco and use prescription painkillers. You even try to demean those opposing prohibition as “legalizers,” but I wear the term as a badge of pride as I admit that I’m trying to legalize cannabis, along with more freedom and equality. People can use all kinds of substances and function responsibly. For those that don’t there are laws against that behavior. The evidence clearly shows that cannabis is one of the safer substances that humans imbibe in yet, you want to persecute people for a substance that is less addictive and kills far fewer people than legal drugs. You perpetuate outdated and Reefer Madness-inspired propaganda and policies that harms lives and has decimated Black communities.
3. Prohibitionist alcohol drinkers and tobacco users, you are truly the worst prohibitionist. Alcohol drinkers, should read up on some history and have a little sympathy for those suffering under a failing and harmful federal prohibition policy. It is just ridiculous to use substances that are much more addictive and deadly than cannabis and yet you support persecuting people for marijuana. You literally have no credibility on the issue. I leave you your Queen, Ann Coulter, who shares this absurd point of view, even going as far as stating that cigarette smoking ought to be encouraged in this country.
2. Cannabis users that don’t do anything to support the cause, also known as slacktivists. Do something! Smoking weed doesn’t make you an activist. Maybe you live in a legal state and think the work is done or you are wealthy enough that a marijuana conviction won’t ruin your life, but people’s lives are being hurt across our nation and world. Support organizations or activists that are doing good work. Cannabis legalization supporters are the majority in the country, you don’t have to worry about being on some government list, those of us who are open are taking the heat for you. Donate to Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, NORML, the Drug Policy Alliance or the Marijuana Policy Project.
Support Parents for Pot and their toy drive for families hurt by the Drug War or POW 420 who correspond with, and advocate for, people in prison for cannabis. If you live in a legal state, at least seek out dispensary and retail stores that do good work for veterans or those less fortunate. There are plenty of local organizations doing great work as well. If you shop with Amazon, you can even send some money to drug reform organizations, at no cost to you. Write to your elected officials or even fire off a letter to the editor. Cannabis laws don’t improve themselves. Do something! Do something! Do something!
1.Jactivists, I save my number one spot for you as you hurt the cause for freedom in innumerable ways, including by demoralizing true activists who find dealing with your antics stressful, traumatizing and time-consuming. Jactivist, a term coined by my good friend and colleague, Johnny Green, is someone that holds themselves out to be an activist while stealing credit, accomplishments or even money from other activists. If you spend any time in the cannabis activist world, you’ve likely encountered jacktivists. Jacktivists tend to be con artist bullies with narcissistic tendencies who don’t really appreciate the amount of work it has taken by the activists that have come before all of us, even though they may pay lip service to others to, but it is all just an act to further their con.
Jactivists will claim to be activists longer than they have. Amazingly, about two years as an activist will magically become “more than a decade” in their public profile. If a jacktivist was selling or growing weed, especially if they get busted, it was a raid for “medical cannabis” and if they didn’t do anything to help local reform measures (because they were afraid of being public due to their illegal sales), they might even still have the gall to proclaim themselves as some type of activist during that time. Sorry, jacktivists, smoking and selling weed doesn’t make you an activist.
Jacktivists will often hold themselves out as helping found organizations that they had very little to do with starting and will take credit for the accomplishment of others. These shady folks will create a house of cards that is so fragile, that they won’t hesitate to bully and demean others in an effort to silence them. Even if these jacktivists sacrifice something for the cause, somehow their sacrifice is so much more than those folks that have been actual activists much, much longer. Worse of all, jactivists might even engage in defamation of character and outright fraud to keep their con going, hurting real activists that have to spend time repairing their character and recouping their lost resources.
Hopefully, you won’t have many (or any) experiences with jactivists, but if you do, it is important to stand up to them, as you would any schoolyard bully. If you know that other activists have suffered from the hands of jacktivists, you may find it beneficial to form a support group of other victims, or those that just want to help; if the jacktivist finds out about the support group, he or she may even claim that you are a member of a hate group out to get them, but just remember that this is the tactic of an abuser, wanting to isolate their victim (or victims).
Happy Festivus and holiday season everybody!
Well, my first public Festivus Airing of Grievances felt great! Have a safe and wonderful holiday season and new year, whether you celebrate a particular holiday, or nothing at all. Now, onto the Festivus Feats of Strength…