Saturday, October 11, 2003

Rush and Chong: Trippin' in Court

Two from the Associated press. First via the Washington Post:

Actor Tommy Chong Reports to Prison

Actor-comedian Tommy Chong reported to a privately run federal prison to serve his nine-month sentence for conspiring to sell bongs and other drug paraphernalia over the Internet even as his attorneys prepared to argue for his release pending appeal.

Click here.

Second via the Houston Chronicle:

Rush Limbaugh admits addiction to painkillers

Conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh announced during his radio show today that he is addicted to painkillers and is checking into a rehab center to "break the hold this highly addictive medication has on me."

"You know I have always tried to be honest with you and open about my life," Limbaugh said during a stunning admission aired nationwide. "So I need to tell you today that part of what you have heard and read is correct. I am addicted to prescription pain medication."

Click here.

Forget Limbaugh's over-the-top hypocrisy here for a moment. There are a couple of points that need to be addressed when considering these two stories together.

First, I simply don't understand why Chong is being sent to jail for selling a product that one can legally buy at a sleazy establishment that's only a five minute walk from where I live. I do understand, however, that the goofy stoner-comedian has been made a scapegoat symbol of US Attorney General John Ashcroft's quixotic crusade against internet bong salesmen. The incarceration of Chong is clearly meant as both a message to other businessmen of his ilk and as a meaningless trophy for Ashcroft in the ever insane "war on drugs." This bust will not prevent a single individual from smoking marijuanna and it will do absolutely nothing to stop the legal sale of drug paraphernalia. This is simply tragic theater with an absurdist flourish. In short, Tommy Chong got screwed by a big butthole Republican for no good reason.

Never mind the fact that real criminals (and terrorists, I might add) are running around, scot-free, while the AG tilts at windmills.

Second, Rush is beginning to spin his own story. Don't get me wrong, here: he's doing the right thing by trying to break his addiction; jail will not help him at all--it would only make things worse. The thing is that I'm starting to get the feeling that the rehab gambit might work, that the corpulent one may very well not see any jail time, (which is, I must repeat, just and fair because addiction is a disease, not a crime, despite what hard-liners like Limbaugh think). Americans are suckers for repentance.

When comparing the big fat idiot's situation to Tommy Chong's, however, it becomes obvious that any realistic concept of justice has been tossed out the window. Neither of them should be in jail, but the stoner guy gets locked up while the racist loud mouthed guy runs off to rehab. Simply put, this really reeks (no pun intended) of unequal justice under the law. But then the "war on drugs" has never been about justice or even about drugs for that matter. It's about politics, plain and simple. Rush has the right politics (pun intended), while Chong is a virtual poster child for the enemy in this so-called war--when seen from this point of view, their differing treatment (again, no pun intended) makes much more sense.

What a bunch of bullshit it all is.