By Tony Aroma
Sometimes I just don’t understand how politics in this country works.
According to our Constitution, a president can be removed from officeÂ upon conviction of “treason, bribery, or other high crimes andÂ misdemeanors.” Yet admitting to having committed such a crime doesÂ not prevent one from being elected president. I guess the importantÂ distinction is whether or not you are convicted. That is, caught.
You see our current and previous two presidents have (more or less)Â admitted to committing one or more crimes prior to their election.Â They were never convicted (as far as we know), but still. Â Do weÂ really want a president in office that is an admitted criminal?
Apparently, the answer is “yes.”
The crime of which I speak is the possession and use of a controlledÂ substance. Depending on the location and the circumstances, our futureÂ presidents’ offenses could have been civil infractions, misdemeanors,Â or even felonies. If a president committed such a crime in office, it
would certainly be grounds for impeachment—at least according to theÂ Constitution. But in reality, no one takes these crimes veryÂ seriously. Except, of course, for law enforcement officials and thoseÂ who are caught and convicted and must live with a criminal record for
the rest of their lives.
So I can’t help but ask, what kind of message is this sending to ourÂ children?
You can ignore, disregard, violate, and even flout the lawsÂ regarding recreational drugs, andÂ as long as you don’t get caughtÂ youÂ can become president. Â Get caught, though, and you are screwed.
MaybeÂ it’s just me, but this seems like a bit of a mixed message:Â Drugs areÂ bad. If you use them and get caught, you are branded for life as aÂ criminal. But if you use them and don’t get caught, then it’s reallyÂ not so bad.
Sounds to me like they are telling us that the actualÂ ingestion of certain drugs isn’t what’s bad. Â It’s doing it inÂ violation of the law that’s the bad part. So that must be theÂ message: Â Drugs are OK, breaking the law is not OK. So, why is itÂ again that we have a law that makes these drugs illegal if they’reÂ really OK?
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that anyone should beÂ denied a career in public service just because they admitted toÂ committing this particular crime. What I’m suggesting is that ourÂ government make up its mind.
Is possession of a controlled substanceÂ a serious crime? It would look that way since hundreds of thousandsÂ of people in this country are in jail for it. Yet when a presidentialÂ candidate admits to committing this crime, it’s barely a blip on theÂ media’s radar.
That suggests to me that, to the public anyway, thisÂ crime is about as serious as driving without a seatbelt. So which isÂ it: serious crime or barely worth mentioning?
But then again, maybe the government isn’t as confused as theirÂ message would make them appear. Maybe this mixed message isÂ intentional. That crafty government of ours. Could it be a sort of, well, “weeding-out” process? Â A way to thin the herd?Â
Only those smart enoughÂ to elude law enforcement and commit the perfect crime can go on to
become president. They would certainly prove that they have what itÂ takes to lead this country.
I guess the same would apply if you getÂ caught but have the connections necessary to make it appear that youÂ didn’t. That would be another way to pass the test and prove that youÂ are presidential material.
On the other hand, if you’re so dumb thatÂ you do get caught and don’t have what it takes to make your criminalÂ record go away, then you don’t even deserve to go to college or live
in public housing, let alone be president. Your future lies in theÂ retail or service industries.
Now that I think about it, that reallyÂ is the only sensible explanation. Once again, message received, loudÂ and clear. And understood.
Editor’s note: Tony Aroma is just an average Joe trying to understand the insanity that is the American War On Drugs.