Today was the warmest day Sprawling Suburb has had recently, after weeks of cold winter days and rainy nights. The warm evening air has drawn kids out on the streets. Vandalism has erupted. I caught three black boys, I'd guess about fourteen years old, throwing something, rocks?, at a house up the street from us. Six months ago, vandals shot up an outdoor light globe atop a post on the wrought-iron fence surrounding the house. The boys ran off, but I know the block generally in which they live and I think I can find them. Now several burglar alarms have gone off several residential streets away from us. Cars are speeding up our street, ignoring residential speed limits and stop signs at intersections. I hear police sirens approaching from several directions. I hear the police helicopter approaching. Tonight is an unwelcome preview of the summer in this historic black and Hispanic neighborhood, currently under a gang curfew injunction.
In view of the so-called "Palestinians' " false inflation of their population numbers in the West Bank and Gaza, done over the past decade as a political weapon against Israel, Debbie Schlussel appropriately warns against letting the number of Muslims in the US be inflated for their political gain here. She reprints the Pew summary of religious affiliation in the US.
Barack Obama's autobiography, Dreams From My Father (1995), is generally classified, judging from Border's shelf placement, as racial literature. (See my synopsis of the work.) Such classification confines the work to a narrow, if feted, category; but it denies the work its full current interest. Obama has been described as a "post-racial" politician; his autobiography might also be described as post-racial. Most classical, American black authored racial literature has been about black men and women dealing with and entering a white world--Frederick Douglass, Narrative and Life and Times, Richard Wright, Native Son, Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man. Obama's story is about a man of amorphous race dealing with and entering the black world.
Obama believed himself to be unique in his situation--light skinned, indoctrinated by his mother when of school age to identify himself as black, seeking over his life to establish his authenticity as a black man. But surely he is not, was not, unique in his racial heritages or his situation. Since the 1970s, the US has seen large immigrations of brown-skin peoples from Asia and Latin America. Assimilation of these groups--Asian Indian, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Mexican and other Latin American groups--has produced many tens of thousands of interracial marriages and children of, perhaps we should call it, fusion race.
In the section of the country where I live and where Obama attended college for two years, Southern California, the traditional white population has shrunk to a minority. Having taught at a university for this entire generation, I saw the fruits of this racial and cultural transformation. Interracial dating (usually with white men dating non-white women, as is often the case with first generation assimilation) was common. It was also visible in the campus faculty, as self-conscious diversity recruiting developed. One new woman faculty member in the 1990s was white in skin-color, but identified herself, and was presented by the University, as black. Her effort to establish authenticity as a black woman was parallel to Obama's story. As new communities sprang up in the interior valley communities, such as the Moreno Valley and Rancho Cucamonga, interracial marriages were also common. My wife and I often went to movie theaters in the Moreno Valley, where, beginning in the 1980s, we always met new black-white married couples also attending the movies. No doubt, in the angst of adolescence, some of their children also felt racially between-races; Barack Obama would have had plenty of company as a fusion-race.
Lack of historical perspective is not perhaps unusual for an autobiography; but lack of perspective makes the themes of the autobiography more self-important and dramatic than his situation or story warranted. Let us look at the background of some of the themes.
Social Division--All societies are divided vertically (stratified) and horizontally (segregated). Divisions are created by all the familiar qualities of humanity--class, race, gender, age, intelligence and merit, luck, and many others. The qualities that create these divisions are, as social scientists have told us for several generations, social-cultural constructions. In the US, for several hundred years, mulattos were considered black; today, mulattos might be considered black or not. In Brazil, one of the last countries of the Americas to abolish slavery, mulattos were common and not categorized as blacks. Class identification is notoriously amenable to social distortion. Even age is a fluid category, as better health has made "fifty the new forty" and "sixty the new fifty". Obama thought he was confronted with a fact of racial color and racial treatment; but there were no such "facts". Rather, young Barack Obama sought to construct situations that would lead others to identify him as black and to invite racial treatment--he sought acceptance in black communities, he worked in a confrontational occupation.
Historical--In the autobiography, Obama strives to magnify the racial segregation and discrimination and suppression of the African American people at the time of his parents' marriage and his birth. His first chapters sketch a social world in which African Americans were still kept down and out. In one passage, he says, "How could America send men into space and still keep its black citizens in bondage?" Bondage? Black Americans were not in bondage after passage of the thirteenth amendment in 1868 (and not all black Americans had been in bondage before the Civil War, as a matter of historical fact). Elsewhere, he writes, "In many parts of the South, my father could have been strung up from a tree for merely looking at my mother the wrong way." Strung up, i.e., lynched? Lynching was uncommon after 1945 and declined dramatically in the 1950s after President Eisenhower sent US troops into the South to enforce Brown v. Board of Education. That is not to deny that awful racial violence occasionally occurred (and still does), but the nation had clearly turned a corner in its history, which Obama does not acknowledge. What Obama is doing in these passages is trying to appropriate black cultural memory as one path to assimilation in the black community. Obama's parents' marriage and their production of Barack Obama Jr. was representative of one of the greatest social transformations of American history, the breakdown of legal segregation, the weakening of social discrimination, the opening of opportunity for social, economic, and geographical mobility for African Americans (and other nonwhite peoples).
Obama was the beneficiary of this great social transformation, though "affirmative action" merits only one mention in his autobiography, that I found. He does not deny, however, that at all points of his educational and business career, his opportunities were multiplied due to social desire by whites in power who wished to accelerate black advancement, beyond what his quite obvious high intelligence and great abilities deserved and would yield.
His quest for membership in the black community was also part of, and benefited from, the black nationalism and black power movements. Great efforts were made by black leaders to call African Americans into a single black community, where their social and political power would be magnified. At the end of his autobiography, he tells of joining the black nationalist church of Reverend Jeremiah Wright, signaling his final absorption in a defiantly black community.
Existential--There are different genres of autobiography. For successful men, the most common is "triumph of the will" (I started at the bottom, I had a dream, I faced obstacles, I was alone, I triumphed). For women, a common theme is "coming out" (I was buried in the home, a timid person, I had a dream of living in the world on my own, I came out, I faced obstacles, I had help from friends, I succeeded). Obama's biography is somewhat different. He sees his story as one of self-identification and transcendence. He was trying to figure out who he is. He succeeded through a complicated contradictory maneuver. As he went into the black community and was absorbed by it, thereby completing his self-identification as a black man, he simultaneously transcended that community. He transcended the conflicting black and white communities through expression of hope for unification of both while maintenance of the identity of both.
In other words, he took the path of diversity as ideologically laid out in diversity theory from the 1970s and later social theorists. Diversity should be celebrated, with each (racial, ethnic, language, heritage, gender, age, etc.) group feeling positive about its characteristics and qualities; at the same time, conflict is minimized between them, because each should recognize the positive qualities of all others. American schools became the primary practitioners of diversity education, with each group getting its recognition. Diversity politics was supposed to be the opposite of idea behind black nationalism. Black nationalism sought promotion of black power and pride, but built community and identification on hatred and resentment ("negative reference social group formation", as the sociologists say). Diversity politics trumped black nationalism by building community on respect, not hatred, for the "other".
In conclusion, Barack Obama was not, is not, unique. He is a product of America's great social transformation of the last generation. His autobiography exaggerates the specialness of his circumstances, the distance he traveled on his journey, the depths of racism and black repression from which he rose. These exaggerations are, I suspect, the man's political ambitions seeping into his recollections. They are, perhaps, just kind of misunderstandings of himself and his times that we should expect from his self-realization as a messianic leader, who hopes to bring America along a path that he believes it has not taken and that he thinks he pioneered.
Barack Obama's autobiography, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance (1995), is Barack's account of his discovery of himself in the midst of his discovery of his American and African heritages. "Discovery" is, however, a misleading term, autobiographically, factually, and interpretively. His racial identity and his racial heritages were not objective facts waiting for discovery, like continents hidden over the horizon waiting for explorers to bump into them or unknown planets and stars waiting for the astronomer's telescope to focus upon their coordinates in the sky. As Dreams From My Father implicitly shows, black identity and black African heritage were choices made by the young man; he could have chosen to be other.
How much did Barack Obama understand that he was inventing himself through decisions and actions? It is some of the charm and literary suspense in the autobiography not to know how self-conscious Barack was as he constructed his self-consciousness. Looking back at the events of which he writes, he brings considerable self-consciousness to understanding his journey, but this self-consciousness is subtly inflected with political self-awareness. The outcome of Barack's story, written before he entered politics, is his realization that he is a messianic savior, nearly in the religious sense, with a message and a mission.
Barack Obama was born in 1961 in Hawaii to a white American mother, Ann Dunham, and a black Kenyan student whom she met at the University of Hawaii, Barack Obama, Sr. Both parents had more important personal quests than maintaining a family and raising a child. Barack Sr. was given the opportunity to attend the School for Social Research in New York City on a full fellowship, which would have supported his family in that city, or Harvard University Graduate School, which offered only tuition, which would not pay to bring his family to Massachusetts. Barack Sr. chose Harvard, leaving his family behind. Ann divorced Barack Sr.
After obtaining his Ph.D. at Harvard, Barack Sr. returned to Kenya and pursued a career in government. After marrying several wives (in polygamy) and siring additional children, his public career collapsed. He turned to drink. In 1982, he died in an automobile accident, perhaps due to drunk driving. After he left his first marital family, Barack Sr. saw his son, Barack, Jr., only once, during a one-month visit when his son was ten years old.
Barack's mother, Ann married another foreign student in Hawaii, Lolo Soetoro, from Indonesia. Change in government in Indonesia required Lolo to return home. A year or so later, in 1967, Ann followed with Barack, Jr. in tow. They made their home outside Jakarta until he was ten. Lolo and Ann were unable to afford a private school in Indonesia. Barack attended public school (two years a Muslim school and two years a Catholic school), with supplemental home schooling from his mother. Concerned that he was not developing his potential, she sent him back to Hawaii after enrolling him in a private school in Honolulu. A year later, Ann left Lolo and also returned to Hawaii. He lived with her and his sister (by Lolo), until his mother returned to Indonesia to do field research for a Ph.D. in anthropology; then he lived with her parents until he graduated from the preparatory secondary school and went to Occidental College in 1979.
During his years of secondary school, Barack entered adolescence. His coming of age produced an identity crisis. Who and what was he? His mother had made the identification for him. He was black. While in Indonesia, she began a campaign of entreaty and education. The black people were noble. "To be black was to be the beneficiary of a great inheritance, a special destiny, glorious burdens that only we were strong enough to bear." (P. 51.) Prior to his mother's education, he had not observed that his father was black and his mother was white. "That my father looked nothing like the people around me--that he was black as pitch, my mother white as milk--barely registered in my mind." (P.10.)
There were several problems with his maternally imposed racial identity. First, when he returned to Hawaii, in Hawaii's multiracial and casual society, no one paid much attention to Barack. He was not identified as of any particular race. Second, he had no black parent for a model and guide. His father was not present. Though Barack had some exchange of correspondence with his father, it did not provide the clues he needed to grow up black.
In a word, as a result of his racial amorphousness, Barack felt inauthentic as a black man. The main theme of the autobiography is his effort to find authenticity as a black man. Barack discovers unresolvable conflict in every situation and relationship into which he moves from adolescence to adulthood, from school to career. In the end, he never finds authenticity as a black man. How he deals with this failure and resolves the conflicts in his life creates the Messianic political leader we see running for president this year.
At Occidental College and Columbia University, he gravitated toward other black students. He learned about black nationalism. He was particularly attracted to Malcolm X, though he did not become a member of the Nation of Islam. He became a reluctant radical--reluctant, because he was not sufficiently confident of his own identity to take a strong leadership role. He was continually torn between two worlds, the disadvantaged black community, to which he believed intellectually he should belong, and the white world of business, money, and power. He thought that, if he would be accepted in a black community, his black identity would be established; yet, he was pulled to the white world, because he was bright and academically successful. Schools and businesses called him out, as the nation embraced affirmative action. After college, he worked briefly in a large business corporation in New York City; then he became a community organizer in south Chicago.
The search for authenticity in the midst of conflicting choices led Obama to see the world, almost in a Platonic sense, as dual. There is the false world of shadows and the real world behind them. The shadow world includes black nationalism and black power. In college, radical black politics is simply so much play-acting that affects nothing real--is even amusing to those persons with real power. Out in the working world, trying to organize black communities to better themselves, he came to include mainstream politics, which he experiences in the Chicago mayoralty of Harold Washington, as play-acting. When black politicians get into power, they do not change anything fundamental about the distribution of power, capital, and opportunity. The lives of poor blacks, in the communities he tries to organize, are just as impoverished and desperate under a black mayor as under white mayors. Needless to say, Barack Obama was discouraged.
Unable to find his black identity in America, Barack traveled to Kenya, seeking to learn more about his deceased father and his black African heritage. Though he has met several of his half-siblings, it is only in Kenya that he encounters the full, sprawling, genealogical and family disorder that his father created through polygamy. He met his father's widows, several of whom are white. He meets many relatives. He meets his father's sister and one of his grandparents. From these relatives, he was able to construct a family narrative from his African grandfather's life in the British colony, through the second world war, to Barack Sr.'s colorful and dramatic life.
Though he enjoyed being in a black society, where his blackness was normal, his discovery of his family led only to further conflict. He discovered that in Kenya, black racial identity was less important than tribal identity. And he discovered that his family, so called, was an indefinite network of relatives.
"What is a family? Is it just a genetic chain, parents and offspring, people like me? Or is it a social construct, an economic unit, optimal for child rearing and divisions of labor? Or is it something else entirely: a store of shared memories, say? An ambit of love? A reach across the void?
I could list the various possibilities. But I'd never arrived at a definite answer, aware early on that, given my circumstances, such an effort was bound to fail. Instead, I drew a series of circles around myself, with borders that shifted as time passed and faces changed but that nevertheless offered the illusion of control. An inner circle, where love as constant and claims unquestioned. Then a second circle, a realm of negotiated love, commitments freely chosen. And then a circle for colleagues, acquaintances ... Until the circle finally widened to embrace a nation or race, or a particular moral course, and the commitments were no longer tied to a face or a name but were actually commitments I'd made to myself.
In Africa, this astronomy of mine almost immediately collapsed. For family seemed to be everywhere..." (Pp. 327-328.)
"If everyone was family, then no one is family.... I'd come to Kenya thinking that I could somehow force my many worlds into a single, harmonious whole. Instead, the divisions seemed only to have become more multiplied, popping up in the midst of even the simplest chores." (P. 347.)
Faced with failure to establish an authentic identity, unable to resolve successfully the contrary pulls of apparently conflicting worlds, several paths opened for Barack Obama to follow. One path he explored early in his youth--alcohol and drugs. He was able to pull himself off this path, apparently during college. Another path disclosed itself furtively and slowly. He could transcend the conflicting worlds as a political leader. On several occasions, he glimpsed himself as an inspired messianic leader. At Occidental, he helped organize a divestiture rally. He was a lead speaker. He took the stage in a "trancelike state". (P. 106.) He had prepared notes for his brief talk; but in talking, he connected with the audience. He felt his words take hold of them and draw him on. When, years later, he decides to take up community organizing, he thought of organizing as "redemption." (P. 135.) As an organizer, he found his voice to inspire, encourage, persuade, and empower the black community to take control of its destiny and work on its own betterment.
At the close of the autobiography, Obama reveals his discovery of the formula that would enable a people, a city, a nation, to overcome the divisions that split it. Many of the divisions were based in hate. The black community harbored a heritage of hatred toward whites. Blacks also wounded themselves with self-hatred. And the black community was divided between the middle-class black families who left the poor communities for better homes in better suburbs, and the poor blacks, who could not leave and lived, discouraged, under municipal regimes of both black and white. This hatred had to be transcended. Obama found the solution when he joined Reverend Jeremiah Wright's Trinity Church on Ninety-fifth Street, Chicago. Reverend Wright preached a sermon on "The Audacity of Hope," that reached Barack. Everyone had to give themselves to someone larger than themselves, who would "put a floor on despair" and enable them to hope. Listening to Reverend Wright's sermon and then the choir sing of how Jesus had carried them so far, Obama finally established his black identity and found his emotional home. He was not raised a Christian--his mother was a secular humanist. Christianity was the final and necessary ingredient of his identity. Faith in hope would transcend despair and hate. Hope would enable everyone to rise above the polarities, contradictions, divisions, and conflicts of American society. Barack Obama had found his voice and his message. His mission awaited him.
Revised, February 25, 26, 2008.
Update. March 9, 2008. Based on over 40 interviews with persons who knew Barack Obama during the period covered in his autobiography, two journalists reveal that Obama's memories are not completely accurate from the perspective of those who knew him. There was less racial sturm und drang and more alienation due to parental abandonment. He was less of an outsider and fit in more with his peers. Characterizations of youthful friends and acquaintances are skewed, according to them. Certain events couldn't have happened. And so on.(Kirsten Scharnberg and Kim Barker, "The not-so-simple story of Barack Obama's youth", The Chicago Tribune, March 25, 2007. Thanks for the reference to Little Green Footballs.)
Would Obama, if elected president, continue the close, pro-Israel relationship that President George W. Bush has pursued? To answer this question, an article by Marc Zell in the Jerusalem Post looks at the foreign policy advisors that Obama has assembled. Led by Zbigniew Brzezinski, to a person they hew the Jimmy Carter line, are pro-Palestinian (i.e., favor the so-called "Palestinians" mythic cause over Israel's position), and oppose the US's close advocacy of Israel.
Obama states, on his website, that he supports a strong US-Israel relationship, supports Israel's right of self-defense, and supports US foreign aid to Israel. Those positions are spoken in strong words--see his fact sheet on Israel. Alas, in day-to-day decision making, Obama will be relying upon his advisors for position statements and policies. Issues raised by actions of Middle East states and terror groups cannot be resolved solely by iteration of glowing generalities and principles; those generalities and principles have to be defined and applied to specific situations. That's where the advisors come in. We cannot--and surely should not--trust this group of advisors to place Israel's interest before the interests of the so-called "Palestinians" or the interests of "realism" rapproachment with the anti-Israeli regimes in the Middle East.
Update. March 8, 2008.American Thinker (February 19, 2008) has an excellent article profiling Obama's advisors. Agrees with the article cited above of Marc Zell. Happily, Samantha Power has resigned from Obama's team; but wait and see if she resurfaces later.
Update. April 10, 2008. Obama adds new advisors. One, a former US Ambassador to Israel, looks friendly to Israel on the face of it, but check behind the smile and his views often favor the so-called "Palestinians" and are harmful to Israel. At American Thinker.
Update. May 31, 2008. Another anti-Israel advisor pick--Rep. David Bonior.
Update. August 30, 2008. Caroline Glick shows that Obama's selection of Senator Joe Biden for VP is not all good news for Israel. While Biden has verbally, strongly supported Israel, his actions as a Senator have frequently betrayed that support, especially on issues involving Syria and Iran.
Update. October 5, 2008. Samantha Power was a close advisor of Obama in the primary season, but dismissed for an attack on Hillary Clinton. She is expected, however, to be an advisor in the Obama presidency if he is elected. She is a vicious, Left-wing critic of Israel. In this (undated) interview, she is asked what she would recommend to the president be done if the Israel-Palestinian (so-called "Palestinian") conflict would be escalated toward "genocide" by one party or the other. She interprets the question as assuming that the escalation is by Israel toward the so-called Palestinians; and if the escalation does not result in "actual genocide" of so-called "Palestinians" by Israel, Israel is nonetheless guilty of human rights abuses. She responds to the question by calling for (1) ending US spending of billions of dollars to support Israel's military; (2) instead, "investing" that money in building up a new "Palestinian" state and (3) building up a "protective" force to protect is from Israel, and (4) "external intervention" into, i.e., invasion of, Israel to protect the so-called "Palestinians".
The video of her interview is posted at Atlas Shrugs.
Update. October 13, 2008. Ben Shapiro's excellent 3-part video, "The Jewish Case Against Obama", referenced in Atlas Shrugged.
Update. November 23, 2008. Obama's views on the Middle East are influenced by Brent Scowcroft, a "realist", who favors deal-making over ideological or moral commitments. Scowcroft sees the Israel-(so-called)Palestinian conflict as central to the problems of the Middle East. Resolution of it would solve a host of problems. Look for Obama to pressure Israel concede a lot to the Palestinians in the hope a deal might be made between them.
Update. February 25, 2009. It is confirmed that Obama is about to appoint Chas Freeman, Jr., to head the National Intelligence Council. The Council is a White House executive staff council that prepares the daily intelligence briefing for the President. Freeman is a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia and a well-known friend of--mouthpiece for?--for Saudi influence. He is hostile to Israel. He believes that all US problems in the Middle East are due to Israel's "brutal oppression" of the Palestinians (the so-called Palestinian people). See Gabriel Schoenfeld, "Obama's Intelligence Choice," The Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, February 25, 2009, A15.
Update. April 28, 2009. Lee Hamilton, for representative from Indiana, has emerged as a key, back-room advisor to Obama on Iran. Hamilton sees Israel as the primary source of our difficult relations with Muslim states in the Middle East and proposes the US government should distance itself from Israel.
The Obama's disdain for America is also part of their ties to the Left. Intellectual confidence in their own capability to run society by command is the reason for being for the Marxist and post-Marxist Left. In every society that has given any power to the Left, the Left curtails individual liberty and ends or greatly restrains free economic markets; in the place of freedom and liberty, the intellectuals of the Left, organized into commissariats, reorganize society by fiat according to their utopian vision. They arrogantly believe they know better than individuals how those individuals should run their lives. They arrogantly believe they know better than the marketplace how to distribute goods and services.
It is this intellectual arrogance that is taught in America's elite private and public universities by a largely Left faculty. This intellectual arrogance is the atmosphere that students breathe. Should we doubt that the Obamas, beneficiaries of these universities, drew deeply of the Leftist hot air?
A Jewish political commentator, interviewed in Israel, with the video at the Jerusalem Post, hit the nail on the head. The schools Michelle Obama (and her husband) attended do not teach pride in America. Given her "education," what would anyone expect Michelle Obama to say?
Put beside her husband's refusal to wear an American flag lapel pin, Michelle Obama's comment is a damning indictment of the Black Left. And why should they expect any Americans to vote for them?
Whew! Dead-on hit on first try. Blew satellite to smithereens! Great job. One more demonstration of the progress the US is making on anti-missile and anti-satellite defense, and another step toward protecting the homeland from space against criminal states like Iran and North Korea.
Sheryl McCarthy, writing a column in the Press-Enterprise ("Reefer Sanity?" Riverside, February 20, 2008, B9) opines that Obama, having admitted to drug and alcohol use and abuse as a teen, might "move this country out of its current drug-policy rut." The rut, she appears to define as making smoking pot illegal, over-zealous enforcement of laws prohibiting possession of pot, making use of cocaine and other drugs illegal, and not allowing medical prescription of drugs.
She does not say so, but presumably, if one would grant the reasonableness of changing anti-drug policies as she wishes, the argument is also given to legalize drugs completely. Such legalization would be a social disaster. Use of alcohol and use of drugs, including pot, are quite different. Alcohol is distinguished by the use for relaxation, but not intoxication, by the overwhelming majority of drinkers. Drugs are used for intoxication by the overwhelming majority of drug users. By tradition and continuous effort of social reform, Western society has managed to make abuse of alcohol a problem confined a small minority of drinkers.
Such management of alcohol is possible only because the main use of alcohol is not intoxication. On the other hand, we have no cultural means for limiting the use of now-illegal drugs for intoxication, simply because that is their only purpose. (Heroin and coke and other addictive drugs are addictive because their effect is so much more powerful than alcohol. Drugs bring a high, as one social clinician explained, that is 100 times greater in intensity and duration than sexual orgasm. In addition, brain chemistry is changed. The combination of cosmic whoopie and rewiring makes most users into addicts. [For technicals, see drug addiction in Wikipedia.]) Why would she, or anyone, think that getting a society legally and chronically drunk on drugs is a good idea? Simply because people want to be drunk? (People desire to do a lot of things that turn out to be personally and socially harmful; wanting to do them does not make them good.) Legalization of use of drugs would only universalize a problem of intoxication that is today limited to a minority of the American people.
Is chronic intoxication good or bad? Ask the spouse of an alcoholic or druggie. Ask any employer of alcoholics or druggies. Ask the police who deal with druggie violence, druggie spousal abuse, and drunken driving? Addiction prevents the addict from fulfilling his or her social obligations, whether civil, moral, or legal. Why would we want a society in which a majority of adults are addicts, incapable of fulfilling their social obligations?
Legalization of drugs would not, either, end illegal drug trade, with all of its horrendous criminal problems. Legalization would create corporate drug cartels which would seek monopolies to charge high prices. To these prices would added government taxes. The resulting prices would be sufficiently high to create a black market (just as legalization of cigarette smoking when cigarettes are so highly priced has created a black market for cigarettes). The black market would keep the criminal distribution of drugs going.
Most Americans, who do not live in places such as San Francisco that have driven their intelligence off the rails, intuitively understand that legalization of drugs would only unleash a plague of social problems on the nation. They would punish any national politician who suggested otherwise. Obama knows this political reality. I must believe he would not commit political suicide by calling for legalization of drugs. On the other hand, having admitted to illegal drug use, abuse, and addiction, he is in a favored position to explain to naive libertarians, such as Sheryl McCarthy, what is wrong with a policy of legalization. But, alas, Obama is unlikely to do that, either, since the Left is so convinced getting high is wonderful and he has carefully courted the Left.