ethel’s words

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DOPE

All over the world, possibly excepting polar regions, humans introduce into their bodies substances not needed for nourishment. (Other animals “imbibe”, but in those cases the nourishment might count.) But we Yankee Americans are determined to be different--we will stay free of mood-altering, pain-killing materials--except for, of course, Prozak and the likes of that--the rich folks’ drugs.

Nicotine is common in many nations. Currently, in the U.S.A., nicotine can be utilized through smoking or through “patches” on the skin, by chewing tobacco, or through snuffing the product, “snuff”. Where tobacco is grown, it may be used as “Long Green”--an unadulterated herb, as I understand it. Tobacco has long been integrated into many--maybe all--Native American cultures. Its medicinal uses were many and widespread; its mood-soothing effect was reverenced.

Now, in this nascent-fascist era there is a holy crusade against tobacco, the best-known (maybe only) source of nicotine. (Imagine: a holy crusade against a sacred plant.)

Does anyone dare speak against a holy crusade? I do.

The fact that it is a holy crusade is the first reason to question the accuracy of the sloganing drive to drive tobacco out of Yankee America, its home. I have not verified gossip of anti-tobacco actions in other countries. If true, it has been a long time coming. The Banzhaf case, that lighted the anti-smoking fire, was decided almost forty years ago. (Was Banzhaf an anomaly or part of “A Plan”?)

The second reason to have doubts about this holy crusade is that it purports to be based on concern about the health of humans--from conception to death. Until very recently, there was barely a murmur about gagging air pollution in the valley of the Great Salt Lake--the home of The Crusade. There is still barely a murmur about obesity. (Oh, yes it does. It does affect everyone. We all pay for the replacement of the dental chair, the big new chairs in all the waiting rooms, the bigger, weightier gurneys, the increase in the cost of manufacturing clothing and linens, and the medical problems created by or exacerbated by, obesity.)

There is no government protest to industry about the fad of monstrosity. Monstrous everything. Young people don’t have any inkling that so-called soft drinks in their grandparents’ youth were a satisfying 4 or 5 ounces compared to today’s standard of six times that much. Portions in restaurants, units of foods in markets, have ballooned. So much for obesity and government concern for health.

Add to that, chemicals in building materials, with no warning. List not only pesticides and herbicides, but also chemical fertilizer. I’m not sure about water, but bottled water consumption is astonishing--so what do poor people drink? There is little government education about the chemicals added to food. The nutritionists were bludgeoned into changing the word “beef” to “red meat”, probably destroying accuracy. (Which ones are “red”? If there are dangers in wild venison or bison, or in mutton, I have not read of them.) Even if I were not a vegetarian, I would not get aroma-close to beef in this age of the prion--and our government protects beef from criticism and warnings.

It is reasonable to add to the list: Congressional disinterest in providing health care for Yankee Americans comparable to superior medical services in many other nations.

Another marker for Holy Crusade is now being created: Banning smoking in parks on grounds that second-hand smoke is deleterious to health is utterly ludicrous in a setting where cars are belching out clouds of carbon monoxide and something else--the “else” that smells awful.

Your government cares about your health? Sure you can swallow it all about war, so deeply ingrained is war into our religious backgrounds. So accept war, the disabler. But since the end of World War II, the U.S. has assaulted its citizens with all manner of disease, drug, and poison experiments. Secret LSD to a military person; flu virus vector sprayed into mass transportation on the west coast--and who knows what else? Are there other depredations yet to be exposed? There never was a secret about nerve gas, anthrax, and clear hints of other diseases. (I cannot recall what diseases were borne by the birds [used as vectors] to islands somewhere in the Pacific.)

Legislators pretend they are making laws to protect us. And the best they can come up with is to try to deny us one of our pleasures that is totally voluntary, less threatening than alcohol, no more harmful than excessive (and altered) food, and certainly less harmful than the vehicles that dictate our lives.

If there is a single factor that shouts “Holy Crusade!” it is the fact that smokers are not allowed to have areas of their own, with non-smokers excluded, such as bars and restaurants. And smokers could buy their own park, too.

Holy crusade. Wholly lies?

Ethel C. Hale