Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Breaking The Law

Over at The Art of the Possible, I discuss the extensive criminal histories shared by Barack Obama, Sarah Palin and me.

LATER EDIT: Now archived here.

Breaking the Law, Breaking the Law

Welcome to my first post here at the Art of the Possible, which does not run criminal background checks on new bloggers before letting them start. Even if it did I’d be fine, because I never got caught any of the thousand or so times I violated state and federal drug-n-alcohol laws during my misspent youth. It’s perfectly acceptable for post-Boomer Americans with no arrest record to say “Smoking illicit cigarettes, drinking before age 21 … yep, I did it all back in the day.” Even the government says it: Barack Obama used booze, pot and cocaine as early as high school; Sarah Palin smoked marijuana when it was legal in her state of Alaska but still a federal crime; the FBI lets former pot smokers join the agency and arrest current pot smokers. Drug crimes won’t hurt your professional or legal reputation the way other crimes do (so long as you never get arrested).

For example: you’ll never see an FBI agent, executive branch candidate or new blogger here say “As a youngster I: was a recreational arsonist/ held up a few liquor stores/ sexually assaulted some people/ murdered several hookers” without shattering all hope of respectability. When the likes of Barack Obama, Sarah Palin and me admit our history of drug-related federal crimes, we don’t expect folks to think any less of us because we know we only ever broke the laws nobody cares about (so long as you never get arrested).

Drug crimes aren’t the only ones tainting – or rather, not tainting – the reputations of candidates and their families this election season. The Classically Liberal blog points out a subtle hypocrisy surrounding the warm greeting Arizona Senator (and Republican presidential candidate) John McCain gave to Levi Johnston, the teenaged babydaddy of Bristol Palin and future father of Sarah Palin’s grandchild:

What would have happened had the young couple in question engaged in youthful sexuality in Arizona? There the young man would become both a “father-to-be” and a felon at the same time. Any sexual act by an 18-year-old and a 17-year-old is a felony in Arizona, even if the girl’s mother is running for vice president of the United States.

Despite its legal status in other times and places, Levi’s achievement of babydaddy status, like Sarah Palin’s marijuana use, is not/was not illegal in Alaska. And if anyone asked McCain if his home-state versions of Johnston should be investigated for statutory rape, it would be considered an unfair question. Similar charges of rudeness would stick to any journalist who asked Barack Obama or Sarah Palin if they themselves should be charged and arrested for the federal crimes they admitted committing, because everybody knows it’s ridiculous to think less of people who got intoxicated in their youth (so long as they never got arrested).

Nor will you find police launching a criminal investigation into claims that certain online photos depict Bristol Palin violating teen-drinking laws. It would be insane if they did; such an investigation would do nothing to advance the cause of justice. Besides: certain teenage pregnancies notwithstanding, everybody knows people can drink alcohol, smoke pot and still turn out all right.

So long as they never get arrested.


Anonymous A Moose said...

Ack!! Unfaithful blogging again!!!

I need to go get tested or something now.

9:10 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

It's worse than you think, Moose: I'm being unfaithful in exchange for money, which is only legal in certain Nevada counties I've never even visited.

10:20 AM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

Well, if it's for money then, that's entirely different.

How much of a cut do I get?

10:39 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Depends upon the brilliance of the comments you leave over there.

10:48 AM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

How about pith? If the commnets lack brilliance but have plenty of pithy pithness will we still get lovely cash prizes?

5:36 AM  
Anonymous mds said...

Well, despite killing that AOTP thread deader 'n a pig wearing cyanide lipstick, I went ahead and added a tidbit about the person left off the list: Cindy McCain. None of us would have to worry about those potential criminal records if we had a powerful politician strong-arming the DEA on our behalf.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

15 yard penalty for IAU!

(Incomprehensible Acronym Usage)

12:00 PM  
Anonymous mds said...

Oh, whoops, my bad.

DEA = "Drug Enforcement Administration"

1:05 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

And AOTP = Art of The Possible, of course.

1:10 PM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

It's one thing to use an acronym for a Federal bureaucracy that appears in print in major newspapers. It's quite another to use an acronym for a website that appears only occasionally on blogs. What's the matter mds, are you charged by the keystroke for Internet use? Got a bizarre finger injury that makes typing out the other 15 letters so agonizing that you just HAVE to use an acronym?

This is yet another injury inflicted upon our society by militarization. All those idiotic acronyms that soldiers use seep into civilian culture and to show how much we want to be just like those goose stepping goobers we do the same thing, coming up with acronyms where none are needed. Reducing our language to a series of shortened bits of gobbledygook.

5:40 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Or it could just be that he used acronyms he knew I'd immediately recognize.

8:12 AM  
Anonymous mds said...

What's the matter mds, are you charged by the keystroke for Internet use?


Got a bizarre finger injury that makes typing out the other 15 letters so agonizing that you just HAVE to use an acronym?

Stop attacking Trig Palin.

It's quite another to use an acronym for a website that appears only occasionally on blogs.

Yeah, but one of those occasions is this very blog post. Gosh, whatever thread could it possibly have been about? Or, as they say in the military, COINTEXT. And something about ROFL.

Oh, crap, out of keystr

8:13 AM  
Blogger NoStar said...

You must excuse him. After all, he is just a simple cave-man, not used to our modern usage of acronyms.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

Acronyms are a disease upon language. A foul perversion that should be rooted out and burned. Cleansing with fire is the only way to rid us of this foul militaristic worship.

But go ahead and do your "I'm a cool soldier lover, see how I reduce perfectly useful words down to acronyms for no good reason" thing. Only know that no matter how much butt you kiss in that way you will always be just a civilian to them.

11:23 AM  
Anonymous mds said...

(Successfully mugged an elderly pensioner for his keystrokes)

Civilian? I'll have you know I was in the Cub Scouts, and almost made it to Webelos. Which name is itself an acronym for "We'll be loyal scouts," so there! Put that in your primitive stone pipe and smoke it for medicinal purposes, mr. caveman lawyer, if that is your real name.

11:49 AM  
Blogger NoStar said...


It calls to mind an episode of The Gary Chandling Show where his nephew is trying to impress his first crush.

Nephew: "I'm almost a Webelo."
Chandling butting in: "Yeah, he's just a wee below Webelo.

4:11 PM  

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