Pubdate: Sun, 20 Apr 2003
Source: Keystone, The (PA)
Contact:  2003 The Keystone.
Author: Ryan Fretz


Dear Editor: Protestant upbringing taught me that the way a man was to walk 
in the world was in the example of Christ. In childhood, I played army in 
the woods, read every book by Tom Clancy, and had a strong love for America 

I had assumed my role in life would be as a soldier, there being no higher 
calling than the defense of the justice and righteousness embodied by the 
American way. The summer before ninth grade I started smoking marijuana.

It was this early use of marijuana that first caused me to critically 
question public policy.

Having experimented with binge drinking in middle school, marijuana was 
notably different, and in a good way. This lead to questioning why this was 
illegal in a free country.

My research took me through the racist refer madness that lead to the 
outlaw of marijuana.

I learned about those who benefit from and lobby for marijuana prohibition: 
the pharmaceutical companies, the extraction and timber industries, and law 
enforcement agencies.

Many issues surround the war on drugs such as the certification of nations, 
funausium-oxysporum, and the prison industrial complex.

This American democracy is dependent on its citizens, we are the government.

However, today we live in a culture of mass distraction, people isolated by 
an onslaught of details from the structure and function of this life we 
live. Public discourse has, focusing on only the most immediate issues like 
whichever war we are fighting.

It is a problem for America, most of its' citizens are disengaged from it's 
political process, it's function in the world, and from the very ideals and 
principles that gave it birth.

It is true that every American has a stake in this country, it's where our 
families live, it is the land we know and love. The America that exists is 
not the America people believe it is. An aristocracy has arisen from 
masters of the black arts of international finance and they are shaping the 
face of things to come. It is through the world's economy that the force of 
political control is exerted, outright subjugation being a messy relic of 
the past. We as a nation consume the majority of the world's resources and 
those suffering under despotic regimes have been sub-contracted, by the 
brands we know and love, as the producers of most consumer goods, in effect 
making them our slaves.

American pride is a blinding force obstructing any view of truth.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness have been replaced with 
comfort, security, and prosperity. We deceive ourselves as to our own 
righteousness when the slogan God Bless America is used as a declarative 
statement and not a sincere plea. So then I step into the role I foresaw in 
childhood, defender of justice, righteousness, and constitutional 
liberties. In the words of the abolitionist Frederick Douglass, "I will 
hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this 
I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a 
lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins." So, I am 
all for America, but to say that America represents freedom in the world as 
it exists today is a joke that I refuse to take in good humor.

Ryan Fretz, senior
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