Lunatics with guns is not the kind of democracy the founding fathers of the US had in mind. The number of militias has increased in recent years, and probably the number of serious death threats to elected officials as well.
One man convicted of murdering an abortion doctor was unrepentant on TV. Some of the ‘tea parties’ are determined to overthrow the health bill Obama miraculously managed to get through Congress.
While there are serious concerns about the likely effectiveness of his health reforms in keeping costs down while providing wider coverage of health insurance, there should be no doubts that the process was (sort of) democratic. At least if you don’t take into account the deep pockets and profound influence of the health insurers, who will remain front and centre of health attention and wealth absorption.
But the bill has passed, and threats of violence or rebellion should not be part of civilised governance.
The drug debate is also characterised by extreme positions. Drugs flow across the border, with heavily armed gangs staking out their share of the market. Just like on The Wire, which I imagine is a somewhat soft depiction of a slimy crew.
And where do the guns come from for the Mexican bandits? They flow the other way across the border of course, creating gainful employment for many god-fearing citizens in the US.
Marijuana is, thankfully, the most commonly trafficked. I say that because by most assessments, it is no worse than alcohol, even when abused. California led the pack on decriminalising it via medical provision, and at least 13 other states have followed. That way they can tax it, like alcohol.
A country as diverse, and massive as the US will always have massive dissent. My take is that the militarisation of their society is fuelling more extreme responses to what should be genteel public deliberation, with lots of evidence and openness. Here our population debate is slowly opening up to discussion, without the need for foot stompinfrom groups that intent to ‘take matters into their own hands’.
But when the US national policy is to dump a form of elected government on tribal groups, without reflecting on the usefulness of this after so many years of failure (Afghanistan, Iraq, and maybe Pakistan to follow) then hubris will come back to bite them (or shoot them) on the bum.
Maybe they need more drugs to calm them down, with stoned pow-wows and naked love-ins. I could probably be convinced to vote for that.