For those of you who haven’t heard this in the news, Malia Obama, the eldest daughter of President Barack Obama, was caught at Lollopalooza – a huge concert event- smoking pot. The internet exploded with the usual outrage.
In some capacity, I can understand. She’s the daughter of the leader-ish of the free world. Her actions are not respecting of the office her father currently holds, and some other reasons warranting anathema. Most of them, I can safely assume, are partisan.
And while I’m not one who thinks smoking marijuana is a good idea itself – though it has its uses – I can’t bring myself to be outraged about Malia smoking it.
Firstly, it feels like a complete waste of time. It’s her dad that I’m concerned with. He’s the one passing two $100 million dollar regulatory measures every week. Or taking every opportunity to push gun control. Or standing in front of murals of murderous communists. Malia can partake all she wants. She’s not running the country, her dad is. And attacking Malia isn’t going to make him look any worse, it’s only going to make people who attack her look like stuck up, holier than thous.
Why? Because Malia Obama’s life isn’t necessarily easy for an 18 year old teenager. Yes, she’s currently part of the most well protected, most catered to, and most visible family in the world…and therein lies Malia’s problem. She doesn’t lead a normal teenage life. It’s all rules, schedules, photo-ops, and media scrutiny. I can remember when she sparked outrage because she went to a Beyonce concert, and that become a breaking story that every publication in America reported on.
If any girl needs to experience typical teenage things, it’s Malia Obama. Nearly eight years of her life have been spent under a microscope she had zeroed in on her through no fault of her own. I can’t look down on her for partaking, even if she is the President’s daughter. She’s an irregular young woman, who for a brief moment, thought she was out of the eyes of the public and could be a regular young woman for once. Despite her standing as “first daughter,” I can’t bring myself to be outraged in any way about this. In fact, I feel for her. I wish she had been able to do this, and enjoy the concert in peace.
Finally, maybe it’s because of my predilection toward libertarianism, or my being brought up around police officers who would rather deal with potheads than drunks, or that I’ve had too many friends who smoke pot and lead more successful lives than many people who don’t. Or maybe it’s because I spent too much time in Colorado…
But I honestly think marijuana is not a concern. If Malia was lighting up a crack-pipe, or was caught with a syringe in her arm, I would have taken a bit of a different stance here. But I feel the stigma around marijuana has become so overblown, that it’s done more harm than good. One need only look at our criminal justice system to see how reactionary we were toward the drug for years. There are a lot of good, non-violent, completely honorable people in jail because of how we treated the drug like it’s the gateway to Hitlerhood.
It’s not. In terms of those under the influence, a pothead is the least of my concerns.
Many of you may disagree with me – send all angry messages to my Facebook page – but the reality is, more and more people are increasingly coming to this conclusion. The reason isn’t populist thought – though I’d say it plays a hand – but because as time goes on, we’re seeing how much damage the stigma has caused in our criminal justice system, or how much we’ve limited ourselves in learning about what the drug can actually do in terms of medicinal uses.
Again, I’m not one who enjoys it myself. I’ve tried it, and it’s not my cup of laced tea. So I’m not speaking as one trying to win you over to make myself feel better about something I do.
But I do think that if we’re going to jump on the Obamas for anything, it’s not Malia smoking a joint of a drug we could all care a little less about at a concert, and trying to enjoy whatever time the media, and the nation will allow while she’s still young.