In the months since Utahns learned that they would get to vote on Proposition 2, the legalization of medical cannabis, in November, much has been written by those on both sides of the issue. But with each op-ed, ad campaign, commentary, letter to the editor, article and, most recently, the lawsuit filed by Walter J. Plumb, one thing has become startlingly clear: Those who are publicly opposed to Prop 2 are glaringly and hopelessly outmatched by proponents of the measure and, indeed, by anyone who has seriously considered the merits of the arguments.
One of the consequences of living in a postmodern world is that people not only feel entitled to their unfounded ideas, but that their views are somehow worth preserving, propagating and codifying. The question is, then, how do we arrive at a shared sense of Truth (or at least some semblance of it) amidst all these competing truths, which, while personally significant, may not actually describe the reality we all share?
A good place to start is with well-reasoned, dispassionate, thoughtful analysis, argument, and debate. For examples of these laudable approaches, we need look no further than to The Tribune and to Robert Gehrke’s and Robert Kirby’s recent articles on the subject. Conversely, Taylor Anderson’s piece about the attempts of a vocal few to stop Proposition 2 tells a story about the absence of reason.
Anderson’s piece should serve as a warning to us all of the dangers, in this case, of religious entitlement and overreach. It shows us the lengths to which some people will go to impose their world views on others, no matter how unsupported their views are by science, decency, the law, or even common sense. But the article does more than serve as a warning: It also makes it patently clear that the opposition to Proposition 2 is fresh out of anything approximating reasoned arguments.
The fact that Plumb and his supporters would even file such a ridiculous and frivolous lawsuit tells us many things about the opposition’s values and moral character. First, the lawsuit shows contempt for the majority of Utahans who, after thoughtful consultation with their doctors, family members and bishops--not to mention years of suffering and opioid addiction--dared to try cannabis with remarkable and irrefutable results.
The lawsuit also functions as a kind of concession insofar as it illustrates that Plumb and those who agree with him have not only abandoned all regard for the legal system and its procedures, but compassion and decency as well.
What do we find in their place? Stall tactics, tomfoolery and fear-mongering, all strategies that entitled and desperate people use to get what they want no matter what the cost to others nor how contrary to the rule of law.
Clearly, Plumb and his supporters cannot win this fight honorably nor by the rules we as a society have all agreed on, so now they are fighting dirty and trying to cheat the system. What they did not count on, however, and what no amount of postmodern cant will ever change, is that humans are expert at detecting and punishing cheaters.
November cannot come soon enough.
Maximilian Werner is the author of five books, including, “The Bone Pile: Essays on Nature and Culture.” His first book of poems, “Cold Blessings,” will be published in the fall.