Michael Phelps smokes a bong at a private party and becomes Public Enemy No. 1. Lance Armstrong signs a deal to hawk beer for Anheuser-Busch and—nothing. Therein lies a lesson about our nation's "absurd drug policy," writes David Sirota. Alcohol is the demonstrably more dangerous drug, yet it's fine for a world-class athlete—a cancer survivor, no less—to encourage us to drink it.
All this goes back to "retrograde mythologies of post-'60s Americana," writes Sirota in Salon. "Straitlaced Joe and Jane Sixpacks" are patriots, while hippie kids toking up are "supposed evildoers." If America is going to end the "contradictions in narcotics policy" and legalize the safe use of pot, it must first reject this "outdated Silent Majority-vs.-Counterculture inconography," says Sirota. "We must, in other words, replace caricatures with scientific facts and mature into something more than an Idiocracy."