I have had a very difficult time over the past couple of days deciding how to approach this week’s column. On one hand, I feel inclined to give everyone a moment away from the insanity blasting out of Charlottesville and Washington D.C. (and everywhere with an internet connection). That side of my mind wants to imitate our heaven-sent friend Mary Jane and figure out a way to just make things relax for the time it takes to read this – a literary smoke break of sorts.
I am not sure I can do that today because the other side of my mind sees footage of actual Nazis – emboldened by the rise of President* Trump (credit the * to Charles S. Pierce of Esquire) – marching in the streets of the United States of America in 2017. I get transported back to the day when I was 15 years old and I met the grandparents of one of my best friends. As I shook their hands, I noticed the digits that had been tattooed on their forearms in a concentration camp. That moment, more than any other in my life – my first kiss, my wedding, a million sweet times with family and friends – is one I can recall with complete sense memory. I remember the air going out of the room; I remember the heavy hum that descended over me. I blocked out everything else in recognition of the connection I was making – through the contact of our flesh – with an era of history so soaked in blood and hatred that my mind did not work for the duration of those handshakes.
It took years for me to realize that the fact that I spent my middle- and high-school years with the descendants of concentration camp survivors was the silver lining of the cloud that had descended over me. The fact that these people had found love with one another and had built a loving multi-generational family was the proof.
And here is where I attempt to cross over from that memory, raised by the specter of the activities in Virginia, to address, somewhat more directly, the topic at hand here in Seeing Through the Smoke: cannabis as it relates to the current administration.
I have another memory, a much hazier but no less formative memory from that same year. It was the first time I got high. My friend’s mother took a trip to Hong Kong, which we took advantage of by filling their house with high school kids for most of the time she was away. There I found myself on a Friday night in late September, a freshman on the sun porch with five junior girls and a joint. I was transported in another direction that evening, communing with a vibration from the complete opposite side of the universe’s energetic spectrum, one washed in love and comfort.
Today, three short decades later, I sit in a country whose leadership* has chosen, by the president*’s mealy-mouthed waffling to condemn it, to prop up the energy of hatred while using any number of flim-flam methods detailed here and across the cannabis media to fight the losing battle of keeping the legal stranglehold on one of nature’s most giving bounties, even going so far this week as to erect a hovel of lies about CBD (heartfelt thanks to The Cannabist and the Stanley family for exposing the DEA’s deceit), the medicine that has changed thousands of families’ lives by delivering them from the likes of pain and trauma of childhood seizure disorders.
It has been said that the rise of the Third Reich in Germany in the 1930s was abetted by the silence and inaction of good people. This administration is on the wrong side of history on these and many issues. Their bullshit will not prevail, but their defeat is not going to happen by accident. It is going to take a concerted effort on the part of all of us who would see a better future built, by those of us who have learned from the lessons of the past, by those of us unafraid to stand up for what is right. That is our charge today. Let’s fight these fights together and see the day won.
Christopher Gallagher lives with his wife and their four dogs and two horses. Life is pretty darn good. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.