Pubdate: Tue, 21 Oct 2003
Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)
Copyright: 2003 Amarillo Globe-News
Author: Greg Sagan
Focus Alert:


Whoa up here. Rush Limbaugh under investigation for drug abuse?

Boyohboyohboy - if this doesn't throw a major wrench in America's war
on freedom. I guess the only thing worse would be former drug czar
William Bennett admitting he shoots horse.

As I understand it, Limbaugh's maid has been dealing the big R
prescription painkillers for some time. Limbaugh admits an addiction
to some fancy opiate, apologizes, and informs us he's headed for detox
and into the right lane for good. And we politely applaud this poor
man's bravery.

So why didn't Limbaugh get a little "drug investigation, Texas-style"
after his pusher ratted him out? We should at least expect that he
will be arrested in the dead of night by a numerically superior number
of armed men and/or women who invade his home, handcuff him as he
lays, and drag his sorry butt to the pokey.

With art, of course.

Somehow the press should have to know in advance the man is coming in
so they can arrange for cameras.

Was he, in fact, finger-printed and given one of those "full face and
profile" portraits for which PDs everywhere are renowned? As of the
middle of last week, Limbaugh asserted he didn't even know if he was
being investigated. If he was taken down, he was taken down soft.

What should we make of this?

If there is even a hint of preferential treatment for a Rush Limbaugh
over a black man in Tulia on a matter of drugs, we will ask ourselves
what its basis must be. And since Limbaugh is white, rich,
conservative and holds an audience, it is easy to believe these are
legitimate justifications for the law to step lightly.

But the summary lesson for our society in considering Rush Limbaugh
should go more like this:

a.. He represents the ruling class in America, a class opposed to
legalizing drugs, and he spoke as one of them.

a.. He behaved differently than he advocated.

a.. He maintains his own right to choose. What used to make drugs an
easy thing to outlaw in this country was that "we" didn't use them. I
suspect "drugs" means marijuana, heroin, speed and acid to most
Americans. We used to assume the people who used these "drugs" were
people we could conveniently lump together on some simplistic scale.
That's why marijuana was long known in this country as a "black" drug
and why heroin is usually associated with Asians.

But Limbaugh represents white, upscale, powerful America, and if his
own habits can constitute criminal drug abuse, so can anyone's. But
instead of Limbaugh being a swarthy felon destined for failure and
dishonor, he becomes instead a mirror of white America; all who have
succeeded here and all who hope to; all who feel they are America's
fist, skull and backbone.

After hearing William Bennett admit to gambling and Rush Limbaugh
admit to drug abuse, one wonders where the conservatives of America
are getting their morals. If it's true that morality is only possible
under conditions of hypocrisy, it's time to cut out the hypocrisy and
acknowledge reality: The only way it is possible for anyone to be
accountable for an addiction is under conditions of freedom to become
addicted. It's sad that experience is the only teacher some of us will
pay attention to, but that's how it is.

And the teacher called "prison experience" isn't as potent at solving
problems of addiction as the teacher called "I'm hurting myself" is.

Part of our current approach to drug abuse assumes that making drugs
illegal is somehow a necessary part of any workable strategy. I'm not

In fact, making it illegal only makes it harder to know how big the
problem really is, only makes it more dangerous to those who trade in
it, only makes it more expensive for those who do it. The single,
guaranteed, most useless, expensive, and inflaming way to deal with
this problem is to make it a criminal offense. Flush all non-violent
drug abusers out of our jails and you solve this state's prison needs.

But making it illegal to abuse prescription drugs didn't work with
Limbaugh any better than prohibition ever works with anyone. Those who
want to abuse drugs will, legal or not.

Criminalizing the behavior of simple drug abuse leads inexorably to
someone like Rush Limbaugh and the contradictions of his case.

Perhaps Limbaugh's greatest contribution as an American will be to
compel "law and order" to concede a little ground to "justice."
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