I think it is safe to say the vast majority of the American public are emotionally exhausted by the presidential campaign of 2016, and anxious to get it over with. We are turned-off by the negative, hateful flavor of the rhetoric coming out of the Trump campaign, and worried that the basic democratic institutions are being threatened by a candidate who appears to see the presidency as just another way to enhance his family brand.
The Republican side of this campaign has lowered the standards for who is qualified to run for president, to include a crude, narcissistic reality television jerk with no understanding of or appreciation for the enormous responsibilities of the office he seeks. He has coarsened the level of the public debate to that of a schoolyard fight, in which those who disagree with his candidacy are all “liars,” “crooked” or worse, and encouraged his supporters to call for his opponent, should he win, to be “locked up” or worse.
It feels as if we have been transported to some third-world country in which a tin-hat dictator has decided he will either get himself elected by tearing-down the country, or he will take the country down with him in defeat, by his “scorched-earth” tactics of claiming the election is “rigged” as part of some world-wide conspiracy involving his opponent, the media, and other unnamed nefarious players.
And last Friday, the infamous “October surprise” surfaced in the form of a vague statement issued by FBI head James Comey, that made things even worse. The statement issued to House Republicans violated two different protocols followed for decades by the Justice Department and the FBI because it provided information regarding an ongoing investigation, and was released with the apparent attempt to possibly influence the outcome of an election.
It may end up not changing the results of the election, but it was sufficient to give all of us all heartburn that a partisan government bureaucrat may have actively tried to aide one party and harm another. Facing widespread criticism for involving the FBI's in the presidential campaign so close to the election, Comey did finally on Sunday announce meekly that they had found nothing new in this latest batch of emails. But by then the damage had been done.
Which brings me to the basic point I want to make. If you too are feeling the angst and anxiety from imagining what our country would be like should this ignoramus be elected, let me suggest a two-step program that will help you make it through to Election Day.
Step One: Rise Above the Absurdity
First, ignore the absurd claims made by this man alleging our country has gone to hell in a hand-basket. In fact the economy continues to improve each month; more Americans are finding meaningful employment and fewer are unemployed; our country continues to have the strongest military power on earth, protecting our freedom and democracy from challenges both within and without; and America remains the beacon of hope for millions of oppressed people around the world.
Don’t let the neurotic ramblings of Donald Trump cause you to feel depressed about who we are or how we are doing as a country and a society. We are doing quite well, thank you; and we will continue to flourish under a Hillary Clinton presidency.
Step Two: Why, Cannabis, Of Course
Second, never underestimate the value of the marijuana high to help you through these trying times. As the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers are famous for saying, “Marijuana can get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no marijuana.” Or paraphrased, “marijuana can get you through a Trump presidential campaign better than a Trump presidential campaign can get you through times of no marijuana.”
The marijuana “high” is really just an escape hatch that permits the individual to think creatively, with few of the fears or concerns that might otherwise burden you. Instead of worrying all night that a totally unqualified individual might find his way to the White House, with a couple of “hits” off a good joint, one can appreciate the opportunities presented by this fool on a fool’s errand. With a sure loser at the top of their ticket, hundreds of other out-of-touch office holders at both the state and federal level may well be replaced by more progressive candidates, resulting in a government that can actually get things done for the people.
And having lived through this worst of all campaigns and survived, Trump may have inadvertently caused us all to focus more carefully in the future on the qualities that are needed for a president, as well as those qualities that are totally inappropriate, which could hopefully result in less partisanship and more cooperation between the two major parties moving forward.
But we still have a day to go, and based on the last 18-months of this campaign, it will not be an easy time for any of us. So my advice is keep your stash handy and don’t hesitant to self-medicate if the need arises. I can promise you will feel better if you do.
Keith Stroup is a Washington, DC public-interest attorney who founded NORML in 1970, and currently serves on the organization’s Board of Directors and acts as Legal Counsel.