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'It's a Monster': Federal Drug Bill

September 26, 1988

The election-year flurry of promises, recriminations and moralizing is at best a source of amusement. At its worst it is destructive in its ability to distract people from truly pressing problems and divert us into silly arguments about headline-grabbing topics.

The omnibus drug legislation (approved by the House of Representatives on Sept. 22 ), and specifically the amendment sponsored by Rep. Mickey Edwards (R-Okla.), is a vivid example of hypocrisy in motion. A $10,000 fine to be levied against casual drug users is the price that they must pay for their "selfish indulgences," as Edwards put it (Part I, Sept. 15). How has he decided that this particular selfish indulgence is the one that is worthy of such a stiff penalty?

I read the paper and see glamorous photos of famous personalities wearing $5,000-beaded dresses and I wonder what is selfish and indulgent. I drive along any freeway and see most cars containing a single passenger, and I wonder what is selfish and wasteful. I see the industrial wastes of our overindulgent society pumped into our rivers and oceans and ground water, and I wonder what is selfish and destructive.

The current campaign of "Just Say No" has a glaring omission in that it gives us nothing to say "yes" to. Shall I say yes to supply-side economics while millions of working Americans live in poverty? Am I to say yes to the empty promise of consumerism and materialism, only to find that they, like drugs, are also a dead end?

Can I say yes to patriotism and country when a $300-billion defense budget and 20,000 nuclear warheads stand ready to wipe out all that we know?

There are many problems in the world today, not the least of which is lack of compassion and concern. If we can begin to look beyond our own selfish concerns, and reach out to help and to love others, then perhaps we could all survive yet another presidential season.

ANDREW BARTLETT

Goleta

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