An Army of One

“There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded.”

-Mark Twain

I am not sure what to think any more. Just when I think this industry/movement/clusterfuck could not get any more idiotic, it does. It is a huge exercise in groupthink, and it is becoming more pathetic every day. Does anyone think for themselves any more, or has everyone just decided to forget doing the homework and cheat off their neighbor?

For a bunch of “enlightened” stoners this group of activists, business people, weedheads, and legal politicos sure do lack in the independence category. Very few have the courage to speak the truth and say what they mean in this industry, and I am not sure why. If one more prominent activist comes up to me and “thanks” me for saying “the things we all are thinking but do not have the nuts to say” I am going to shoot myself in the face.

This is not hard stuff. This is basic human interaction. We all learned these skills when we were babies, and have since been conditioned to sit down and shut up unless we are spoken to. What is good and what is bad are not new concepts here.

But independence is rare in our community, and the desire for conflict is even more elusive. Maybe it is the perception that we must never criticize our own in fear of giving ammunition to our enemies; but here is the reality…by not managing those within our own ranks we have decimated our credibility on many levels, and have given more ammo to the enemy then ever could have come from a serious conversation about the internal problems we face.

I have made a conscious decision to stop issuing passes to those who are carrying the flag for our movement. It does not serve us well to pretend that the very obvious areas where we are lacking can be fixed with window dressing and platitudes. If we continue to buy into the idea that our voice and our independence matter little in the context of what the group wants (or what we have been led to believe they want), then we will continue to be hampered by strategies and objectives that play to the lowest common denominator.

There are a lot of folks out here who have claimed to have accomplished this or that, or who have been given this title or that position, who really have done very little. Let me be pretty clear….Weed is still as illegal today as it was in the 70’s. In fact, there are hundreds of thousands of lives that have been ruined by these failed drug policies since then, and that number is increasing daily. We now lock up 25% of the world’s prison population, but only have 5% of the actual population because we take poor people to jail for weed a lot. Or we take their house…or kids…or job. Ugh. Not a lot to be proud of.

Yet from the parade of ego and triumph we see from the group, you would think we had cleaned out the prisons and that weed was available at 7-Eleven now. Not even close.

And yet, every day I see more and more once independent people fall victim to the game. While there is still a strong group of holdouts, most have put their head down and have decided to tow the company line to make life easier for themselves. Many have given up their voice in order to be a conforming member of the larger community. It is the basic high school premise of the “cool kids” and the “outcasts.” There are the same peer pressure principles at play. If you want to be a part of the group you have to act like this and say these things. You definitely cannot rock the boat. It is sad, but true. High School was far from the end of the groupthink bullshit.

We all have the ability to think for ourselves. Many times we just choose not to, whether because of pressures, or because of laziness, or maybe even just a lack of confidence.

What has happened is that there is a breakdown in communication and understanding. There is a lot of built up animosities that are not likely to go away any time soon. There are not enough people willing to stand up and actually say “enough.” There are plenty thinking it, and many who have simply dropped out due to apathy; but there is very little communication as to what we can do better….independently, or as a group.

I would encourage the average weed activist to never allow the wishes of the group overcome your beliefs and values. Never be afraid to be the lone voice of dissent in the room. Do not let your voice be swept under the rug and diminished by the masses. Sometimes it takes an army of one to change the outcome of the battle. While there is need for group strategy and cooperation, it does us no good to blindly follow the group for the sake of not upsetting the group. Real dynamic movements acknowledge the need for independent voices and ideas, and are open to change and evolution.

You can continue to hire one Yes Man after another that will tell you how great you are, but unless you know that the Emperor does indeed have some fucking clothes on, it is an irrelevant exercise in stupidity, and likely corruption.

Think for yourself, and say what you think every once in a while. You might be surprised at the power of your army of one….

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