“If you think marijuana’s bad, just look at alcohol!”
This has been a main hinge for arguments in favor of legalizing the use of cannabis. All of a sudden, we acknowledge that alcohol is bad – very bad. We know the thousands killed on the roads every year from drunk driving. We know that even the celebrated one glass of wine a day will raise the risk of certain cancers by a percentage half of which is sufficient for a drug to be recalled from the market.
So we come to the only natural thing to do: We seek to legalize another intoxicant because, you know, God forbid we have to rethink alcohol.
Strangely enough, one cannot smell lobbying power here. The alcohol industry doesn’t seem to be straining to push for the utter negligence we are practicing toward alcohol. Instead, alcohol seems to automatically drive itself deeper into our culture. That is, we have reached such a degree of adoration for boos that we can look it in the eye, acknowledge that it’s killing us by the thousands, yet proceed to pull it in for another embrace.
Ok, maybe not entirely “automatically”. There are the hardly inconspicuous billboards for heavy liquor on hi-ways for kids to see. There are the movies, TV shows, and music videos teeming with product placement for boos. Vodka ads litter every TV and Youtube station there is. Regardless of who’s to blame, though, our acceptance of alcohol as a general public is alarming.
Alcohol is like the ubiquitous lobbyist who has a connection with everyone who matters. Lawmakers use it (liberal and conservative), celebrities cherish it, and doctors and even religious leaders drink it. Writers and pundits of all persuasions – from far right Tea Partiers to Occupy Wall street activists to Green Party liberals – will scramble to defend it at the slightest hint of prohibition. Its stronghold is truly legendary and its novelty never seems to wane.
But facts are: It’s deadlier than all illicit drugs and it’s a known carcinogen – among its many other known health hazards. And next time you hear that someone took their own life, ask if they had alcohol in their blood. There’s a 1 out of 3 chance they did.
Perhaps it’s time to ask ourselves: Is alcohol worth its cons? Is “having a good time” worth all the violent tirades, the broken households, the dead sons and daughters, the orphaned children, and the bar fight injuries?
Isn’t it time for a serious debate about alcohol?