Posts Tagged ‘tobacco’

It has been well known for many years that the tobacco plant is the direct cause of disease and death for hundreds of thousands of Americans every year. Everybody knows that; it’s hardly news.  Let’s suppose Al Qaeda was killing 400,000 Americans every year by blowing up buildings and airplanes.  Would we sit back and do nothing?  I don’t think so.  Everyone knows that smoking tobacco is addictive because it contains the drug nicotine. Yet, even though nicotine is a drug that drives people to smoke the cigarettes that kill them, we don’t ban it.  What if a half a million Americans were dying of heroin or cocaine use every year? Our attitude towards tobacco doesn’t make much sense.

On the other hand, neither does our attitude about opium. Opium is a highly addictive drug that is refined into heroin.  The U.S. is a big market for heroin.  The largest producer of opium in the world is Afghanistan. It is the basis of the Afghan economy and its cultivation has prospered ever since the U.S. drove out the Taliban. We have an army in Afghanistan. Why don’t we completely incinerate the opium crop? Why do we let the peasants of Afghanistan essentially sell heroin to Americans?

Why do we pretend to be against the use of narcotics and then we allow their cultivation and use right under our noses and yet do nothing to stop it?  Is our government for or against the use of addictive drugs by the American public?  Yes or no, just answer the question.  I say it is in favor of the use of addictive drugs.  Why do I say that? Because it is obvious. If the U.S. government was against the use of these drugs and the hundreds of thousands or even millions of deaths they cause each year, the government would simply put a stop to their use – and it doesn’t.

Why?  Money.  Big money. Tobacco is a major industry in the U.S. and our government has simply made the decision to favor the tobacco farmers and the cigarette manufacturers over the health of the tobacco addicts in America.   Same thing with opium.  We could easily destroy the opium crop in Afghanistan, but we won’t. We feel sorry for the opium farmers who grow this stuff and export it to our drug addicts. It is these drug addicts who rob and kill our citizens just to buy a packet of heroin who we severely punish, if we can catch them.  But the producers and manufacturers? No.  We look the other way.

Why?  Because we are not a nation of ideals. We are a nation of pragmatists, always willing to sacrifice our ideals if we can make a buck.  And drugs are big bucks.  And a lot of Americans make big bucks from the legal trade in nicotine (tobacco).  And our government has no intention of stopping it.  It’s not hard to understand. Our government is not concerned with the health or welfare of the people. Our government is primarily concerned with the welfare of the rich and powerful people who deal in these drugs.  There is no excuse for this. It is wrong, it is corrupt, it is evil, but it is the American way – business first, people last.

And we call this a democracy.

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