Conan’s on Board (along with Pat Robertson and Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of State George Shultz)
Best of all, well, there’s nothing like a 30 minute television interview conducted by the people about whom you’ve just written a major book. From the heart of the Emerald Triangle, I actually had Mendocino sand in my toes during this fun and revealing interview conducted by quite the knowledgeable host.
Enhanced, I’m sure, by my suffusion this morning in a color I call “high desert purple at 5,700 feet as refracted off the crystals of billion-year-old Cambrian sandstone when confronted with the first rays of an October sunrise” (when I want to be humbled I talk to a geologist), I notice again that even (especially?) the most harried departure sequences from the Funky Butte Ranch invariably prove to be such profoundly sacred experiences. And not just because I was out of organic roiboos tea.
An inveterate questioner, a seeker of source, I somehow every time accept these staggeringly sublime morning services, these special effects-driven atmospheric panoramas, without surprise or question, perhaps because I’ve given myself four hours and five minutes to make a flight at an airport four hours away. Per ritual, I stop the Ridiculously Oversized American Truck thirty feet from where I’ve started it to issue some good-bye scritches to the foreheads of the goats that provide my protein in fact my road food menu this morning is a very civilized one:
DESAYUNO de FUNKY BUTTE
–Organic stoned wheat crackers
–Last of the roiboos
–Jugo de naranjo con aceite de hemp
–Possibly a few Green and Black’s 80% cacao organic chocolate squares in the center console (gotta remember to check before the sun gets too high and melts the dash, let along anything stored in it).
I know the mechanical requirements of this putative repast are going to be causing some grand parabolic swerving as I traverse the first of my two mountain ranges in about twenty minutes (texting-while-driving has been banned before assembling-muti-layered-locavore-snacks-while-driving, possibly because the only witnesses to the latter are generally fox and elk).
For now, though, I hear myself saying “Good bad goat” to caprine grandmother Natalie as her front hooves, on cue, curl up and over my truck bed in her abortive but paint-scratching attempt to come along as tour road manager. A bipedal goat meeting my circular pupils with her horizontal slits always makes me laugh. Ah, I see the ducks and chickens have layed their eggs in a lotus-like star this morning, all within a single nest.
My last vista before I hit pavement in a cloud of kung pao-chicken scented vegetable oil exhaust includes two courting ravens dive-bombing (and by the narrowest of last second updraft margins avoiding) my rooftop solar panels. Now I must transition once again from chicken egg gathering to sushi order picking-up. I feel prepared.
With fourteen hours before my next event in San Francisco, I find myself reflecting with immense gratitude on my role as broadcaster to mainstream tipping point audiences (albeit in my particular, ya know, comedic investigative voice) of a message that others have been preaching for four decades.
What I’ve come to realize palpably is that when you speak for a genuine slice of change matters. When you thrown down and join the battle. Do it too early and your role might be rhetorically powerful, even a valuable and commemorated skirmish in the larger war, but it might cost you little things like your freedom, your livelihood, your home, your family or your life.
The world took notice and took a step toward justice when 12-year-old Pakistani child labor activist Iqbal Masih was murdered in 1995. But a lot of good that did Iqbal Masih. With attending my kids’ retirement parties as a goal, let me tell you I’m thankful the universe has set things up so that I am writing about the coming Drug Peace era when support for ending the intervening Drug War is at 56% in the U.S. and climbing, and Pat Robertson, for crying out loud, is on board. We might even see three states (Washington, Oregon and Colorado) unilaterally end the war on cannabis in a few weeks (most pundits predict one or two of these initiatives will pass, which is a great start, as 17 or 23 more will force Congress to wake up and remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act entirely, allowing states to regulate cannabis for adult use like alcohol, thus crippling the cartels and effectively ending the domestic war).
So what I’ve been reflecting on is this: you can be asked to enter at the martyr phase, or you can be part of the procession in the final jubilant parade — in the case of this smashing Drug Peace victory right alongside Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of State George Shultz.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani (and worldwide) child slave labor market continues to make our underwear. Will it ever stop? Maybe. Not not without the courage of people like Iqbal Masih. I think of that kid whenever someone tells me they think I’m brave for having written TOO HIGH TO FAIL in 2012. I’m just waltzing in to the capital to celebrate the peace dividend (which is about $40 billion per year). In my New Mexico food co-op the other day, near the bulk quinoa, a friendly lady told me that again: that my book was courageous. “Maybe in 1985 it’d be brave,” I thought. “A few million Drug War arrests ago.” But all I told her was “Thanks! Let’s end this mistake once and for all.” And I say the same to you. With thanks — as a father and a patriot.
Postscript mid-tour, six days later: I guess I should stop being surprised by this (admittedly, accepting such a promising reality as I’m about to relate for the fourth Dispatch running in times I’m told are troubled is making me increasingly unselfconsciously optimistic in a whole spectrum of societal, spiritual, personal and athletic spheres). But the response I continue to get to TOO HIGH TO FAIL and its “The Drug Peace Is Good for America” message (now from mainstream audiences at literary festivals, high schools, colleges and private/corporate events in addition to the bookstore tour stops and cannabis activist organization events that kicked things off a month ago, and the magnanimous and almost loving response from all media platforms) reminds me again that America Adapts.
That’s what she does. God bless her — this is why we’re so innovative and strong, why I busted out in “God Bless America” in the shower in Portland this morning, despite my decision to sample the locavore restaurant-and-microbrew scene until a few short hours ago. I realize that we as a nation, as a cultural entity, have wisely welcomed cannabis into the fold. Into the 300-year-old bundle containing all the Acceptable Parts of a Successful, Safe, Strong and Family-Friendly America.
Which is to say that I think the Drug Peace tipping point is coming sooner than even many cannabis activists realize (and even in the heartland — go Arkansas voters, and hang tough, Missouri: the National Cannabis Coalition is on the way). Please help bring forth this tipping point whether or not cannabis is in your life at the moment (hopefully in ten years it will at least, in industrially fermented form, provide your fuel — talk about a peace dividend). Call your congressperson and senators and tell them, “For the good of the country’s economy and to cripple the drug cartels, please remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and allow states to regulate the plant like alcohol.”
Telling the TOO HIGH TO FAIL Story at the Drug Peace’s Literary Headquarters: Mendocino County’s Gallery Books