Don't be cruel 

As Montel Williams waited his turn to speak at a state Capitol rally for medical marijuana, he noticed leading opponents of the proposal, Jerry Cox and Larry Page, were in attendance, and carrying on private conversations while supporters of the act testified to the terrible suffering they and members of their families had endured because they couldn't legally obtain marijuana, the only substance that gave relief. That opponents wouldn't even listen to the other side, Williams found appalling. He'd never seen such callousness, he said. "Aren't we supposed to be a compassionate nation?"

If the talk-show host came to Arkansas more often, he'd know that compassion is the furthest thing from the minds of the religious zealots who follow Cox and Page. "We're going to shove our religion down your throats," is their message. "It may hurt."

Both sides of the medical marijuana debate produce studies that prove medical-marijuana legalization either does or does not increase the consumption of marijuana generally. The opponents of Issue 5 on the general-election ballot can argue, and do, that the wording of the initiated act is both too long and too short. Supporters of Issue 5 can note that opponents have sunk even to racism in their television advertising. All of this is relatively unimportant. The substance of Issue 5 is indeed compassion. Some people want to comfort their sick neighbors; some do not, and, when consumed by faith-based hatred, or greed, they don't want anybody else to do it either.

Speaking of mean, hardly anybody is consistently meaner than the Chamber of Commerce. Cruelty with a tie on. Every proposal to aid the working class — higher wages, safer working conditions, more affordable health care — is opposed by the Chamber, which seeks to keep workers humble, obedient and willing to do whatever bosses want, for whatever compensation. Ease their pain and who knows what they might ask for next. Respect, maybe. People who want pain relief ought to be rich.

So it was hardly surprising that Randy Zook of the Chamber of Commerce showed up at an anti-Issue 5 rally, pledging support for the antis. Also on hand were those who make a handsome living by keeping the misnamed "drug war" going. (It's a war on people, of course, not on drugs. Drugs don't die in agony, people do.) Professional drug warriors oppose even a limited cease-fire in the conflict. Arkansas "drug czar" Fran Flener and another state Department of Human Services employee, Jennifer Gallaher, are busily spreading Jerry Cox's propaganda at the taxpayer's expense. If their conduct is not illegal, as Issue 5 supporters claim, it should be. Flener makes $81,000 for holding a state job that ought not even exist. Gallaher knocks down $104,000. Let's call their employer the Department of Human Disservices.

It may be true, we'll admit, that not everyone who opposes Issue 5 is cold-hearted, but it's certainly true that all the cold-hearted are opposed to Issue 5. An old comedian once asked, in all seriousness, about the time of World War II, "Why can't people just leave each other the hell alone?" Why can't we let our sick neighbors make their tortured lives a little more bearable, or at least try to?


From the ArkTimes store

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

People who saved…

Most Shared

  • Judge Griffen dismisses execution challenge; says hands tied by 'shameful' Ark. Supreme Court ruling

    Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen ruled today that he had no choice based on  a past Arkansas Supreme Court decision  but to dismiss a lawsuit by Death Row inmates seeking to challenge the constitutionality of the state's lethal injection process.But the judge did so unhappily with sharp criticism of the Arkansas Supreme Court for failing to address critical points raised in the lawsuit.
  • Metroplan sets public hearing on 30 Crossing

    The controversial 30 Crossing project to fatten up seven miles of Interstate 30 from U.S. Highway 67 in North Little Rock to Interstate 530 in Little Rock will once again get a public hearing, thanks to a vote of the Metroplan board Wednesday.

Latest in Editorials

  • The end of an era

    We're sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire. Though he's been listed as an associate editor on our masthead for the last 22 years, he has in fact been the conscience of the Arkansas Times. He has written all but a handful of our unsigned editorials since we introduced an opinion page in 1992.
    • May 8, 2014
  • A stand for equality

    Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel became the first elected statewide official to express support for same-sex marriage. His announcement came days before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is expected to rule on a challenge to the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Soon after, a federal challenge of the law is expected to move forward. McDaniel has pledged to "zealously" defend the Arkansas Constitution but said he wanted the public to know where he stood.
    • May 8, 2014
  • Same old, same old

    Remarking as we were on the dreariness of this year's election campaigns, we failed to pay sufficient tribute to the NRA, one of the most unsavory and, in its predictability, dullest of the biennial participants in the passing political parade.
    • May 1, 2014
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Brant Collins named Group Travel Manager for Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Brant Collins named Group Travel Manager for Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Collins to work toward increasing visitation to Arkansas by groups and promoting the state's appeal

Event Calendar

« »


  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Never his fault

    Unlike his personal hero Vladimir Putin, President Trump can't have his political opponents thrown into prison, shot dead in the street or flung off fourth-floor balconies.
  • The two cities of Little Rock

    The Little Rock City Board illustrated the capital city's division again last week.
  • Repeal charade

    The debacle of the repeal-Obamacare movement left the president and the Republican Congress ruminating about the terrible lessons they had learned from the defeat — mainly that neither ever had a health plan or even a clue about how to frame one.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Never his fault

    • Good point. Onward!

    • on March 30, 2017
  • Re: Never his fault

    • Okey, dokey - good point. Except that unbiased coverage on Trump, et.al., would be nice…

    • on March 30, 2017
  • Re: Never his fault

    • @investigator of both sides - shouldn't we all, including Mr. Lyons, focus our attention on…

    • on March 30, 2017

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation