Global Population Crisis

Bang. Bang. Bang. A thunderous knock at the door startles Chris to his feet. He edges toward the door. The worn floorboards creak beneath his bare feet.

“Who is it?” He asks.

“USCPC sir. Please open up,” the voice answers sternly. 

Chris slowly cracks the door open and peers out. Standing on his small front porch is a short, balding man in a black nylon jacket and khaki pants. He taps his right index finger on the white block letters USCPC printed across the left breast. 

Behind the short man’s left shoulder stands a tall expressionless soldier in an all-black special ops uniform. His clean shaven head glistens in the sunlight. An M-16 rifle is slung across his chest, while a handgun rests in the holster on his hip and the large knife is strapped to his thick, powerful leg.

“How can I help you gentlemen?” Chris asks.

The short man assumes, “Chris Jackson?” Chris nods his head down once to the affirmative. “Mr. Jackson, name is Detective Strauss with the United States Center for Population Control.” He motions to the other gentleman with him, “This is Officer Smith. I have a warrant to search your home, but I’d like to have a short chat first.” He holds up a piece of paper stamped in official government seals, “Will you please let us in?”

Chris hesitates for a moment, then opens the door the rest of the way, allowing the men to enter. “Please come in. Let’s have a seat in the living room. It’s more comfortable than standing in the doorway,” Chris says as he leads them into the room directly beside the front foyer. “Have a seat,” he says, motioning to the armchair beside the fireplace. Chris flops down on the couch. The detective sits in the armchair facing Chris. Officer Smith stands silently by the doorway of the room.

“Would you like something to drink?” Chris offers.

“I would love a glass of water,” says Strauss. He turns to his partner, “Smith?” Officer Smith remains motionless. “I suppose that’s a no?” Strauss assumes.

Chris yells over his shoulder to his wife in the kitchen, “Honey, we have some guests. Can you please fix us each a glass of water and maybe a snack?” Chris turns back to the detective, “It’ll just be a minute. So what can I help you with, detective?” 

“Mr. Jackson, I am sure you are aware of the government’s new laws on population control,” Detective Strauss infers.

Chris puts his feet on the coffee table. “Please refresh my memory,” he replies. 

Chris’ wife, Ellen, enters the room balancing a tray with four glasses of water and some chips and dip. She hands one glass to the detective and one to Chris. She places the snacks on the coffee table between the two men.

“Honey, please take your feet off the table,” Ellen insists.

Chris pulls his feet off the table and sets them back on the floor.

Ellen turns to Smith, “Would you like a glass of water officer…?” 

“Smith,” he answers. “No thank you.”

“Well I’ll just put it down here in case you change your mind.” She says as she places it on a small table beside the officer. “How about a chip?”

Ellen lifts the bowl of chips off the tray to offer to Smith. He helps himself to a single chip and raises it to his mouth.

“Wait,” Ellen says, “You must try my famous dip.” She places the chips on the table and picks up the small crystal bowl of dip. Smith helps himself to a generous scoop. “There you go hon’. It’s good, isn’t it?” Smith nods, his mouth full. Ellen flashes him a smile, places the dip on the table and walks back toward the kitchen.

“Honey, will you please join us?” Asks Chris.

Ellen stops and turns back to face him, “Just a moment, my love. I have to get something from the kitchen.” She leaves the room.

Chris turns his attention back to Detective Strauss, “So Detective, you were saying?”

Strauss takes a sip of his water, “Wow! That’s very good.”

“Reverse osmosis,” Chris informs the detective, “It removes the chemicals and many of the unnecessary minerals from the water.”

“Very well,” says Detective Strauss as he places the glass on the table. Chris leans forward and reaches under the coffee table. Officer Smith aims his M-16 at the back of Chris’ head.

Chris lifts his hand up from underneath the table. He places a coaster on the table top and slides it toward Strauss. “Don’t want to ruin the finish,” Chris says as he flashes a wink at Strauss and places his glass on the coaster. “As you were saying?”

Smith lowers his firearm. 

“Yes. The new law set in place by the US government stipulates that every child born in this country must be assigned to an adult at a one to one ratio.”

“So they say,” replies Chris.

“They do,” says Strauss. “I am also aware that you currently have three children. A son named Caleb that is registered to you…” 

“Correct,” says Chris.

Strauss continues, “A daughter named Rachel that is registered to your wife, Ellen?”

Chris confirms the statement, “Also correct.”

“And a second son named Chris that is registered to a… Kristina Jackson?”, asks Strauss, implying he’d like a further explanation.

“Yes,” Chris confirms, “Kristina is my sister. She is, um… barren. To her credit she was overjoyed when little CJ came into our lives, and even happier that we chose her to be his sponsor.”

“Well that’s just fantastic. And what you say corresponds with the information I have here,” Strauss confirms.

Chris jumps to his feet, “Splendid! Well gentlemen, thank you very much for the visit. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some chores to get to.” 

Strauss interrupts, “There is one more thing that we have not discussed.”

“And what might that be?” Asks Chris.

“Your wife, Ellen. She’s pregnant isn’t she?” Pries Strauss. Chris’ slack jawed reaction comes as no surprise to the detective. He motions to Chris to have a seat. Chris begrudgingly sits back down on the couch. “She’s pregnant and there is no one to register this baby to, correct? Your parents are both deceased, are they not? Ellen’s parents are also deceased, is that correct? Neither of you have any more friends or family to whom you can register this child?”

“That’s correct,” Chris’ words fall out of his mouth like a sack of marbles dumped out onto the floor. He takes several deep breaths.

“Do not worry, Mr. Jackson, you have a number of options. First, as you may have heard, you can move north to Canada. Their government has been generous enough to set up settlements in the northern prairie provinces to take in families with unregistered children. It’s by far the most humane option and I urge you to take it. You won’t have to move until the baby is born, however, I recommend making the journey before your newborn comes along. It’ll make it easier on everyone involved.”

“And what are my other options should I choose not to move to the frozen tundra?” Chris asks, snidely.

“Well,” Strauss heaves a long breath, “Option two is to hand over the unregistered child to the government.”

“What will they do with a baby?” Chris worriedly asks.

“I can’t tell you, as I am not privy to that information,” Strauss admits. “And the third option is that one of the children is destroyed. In this case, I can have a doctor here in the next week to perform an abortion so as to avoid any unnecessary bloodshed of one of your other young children.”

Chris places his head in his hands. His body heaves as he sobs, releasing his frustration and fear.

“I’ll be honest with you Mr. Jackson,” says Strauss, “While it may seem extreme, at least you have the option to relocate. Two other, much larger countries, are simply hoarding and massacring children and the elderly. Many other regions are completely war torn. Tens of thousands of bodies are being incinerated everyday. Billions of people around the world don’t have the opportunity that I’ve presented to you. So… what would you like to do?”

Chris ponders for a while. He stands back up, “If you’ll excuse me, I must speak with my wife.” He leaves the two men in the living room and walks down the hall to the kitchen.

Detective Strauss shoots a look at Smith. “Seems like a fairly reasonable guy. I think he’ll do right by his family, don’t you?,” he whispers as he scoops some dip onto a chip.

Smith takes a deep breath, “I don’t feel well.”

“What?” Strauss asks. 

Smith switches off the safety on his firearm, “I think there’s something in that dip.” Smith turns a pale grey and begins sweating profusely.

Strauss drops the chip back into the bowl. 

Smith violently bends over at the waist. His blood filled vomit hits the floor with a splat, spreading across a two foot radius.

Ellen creeps into the room from behind him. She presses the barrel of a loaded glock to the side of his head. “Easy there, soldier. Just drop the rifle.”

Smith swings toward Ellen as she pulls the trigger, painting the walls with a shiny new red coat. Smith’s large body hits the ground with a heavy thud. 

A second gunshot is fired by Strauss straight into Ellen’s chest. Strauss stands up out of his seat. He creeps slowly toward Ellen’s body. As he steps out of the room and back into the foyer, he lifts his head to see Chris standing at the end of the hall. Strauss points his gun down the hallway. 

A third gunshot rings through the air. Strauss examines the pistol. He ponders momentarily about whether or not he has pulled the trigger. A sharp heat fills his gut. He presses his hand against his belly. Bright red blood oozes out of the hole, soaking his clothes and hand, dripping onto the hardwood.

Strauss glances down the hallway. Chris has disappeared from sight. Tilting his head upwards, he sees Caleb, the Jackson’s eight year old son, sitting atop the staircase that leads directly to the front door. His small pistol smokes while the bullet lodged in Strauss’ gut wears him further down by the second. Strauss fires frantically as Caleb takes cover.

Chris steps back into the hallway and fires one shot from his .44 Magnum, ripping Strauss’ leg wide open. The detective takes a step backward, slipping in Smith’s vomit. The hardwood jars him as it becomes closely acquainted with his tailbone. Ellen kicks the gun away from his hand from her lying position. Chris slowly approaches and helps Ellen to her feet. They stand together hovering over Strauss.

“These new vests are great, honey,” Ellen says as she taps her chest. “Frontline tactical. Got a great deal,” she says with a giggle.

“We need you to do something for us,” says Chris.

Strauss slides his body toward the door frame and sits up against it. “What do you want?”

“You are going to give me the password to your phone,” says Ellen as she rifles through Strauss’ pocket.

“What are you going to do?” He asks.

“We’re going to report this as a false alarm,” she replies.

“No.” Strauss heaves a breath, “What are going to do with me?” 

“Would you like to see?” asks Chris, deviously.

Chris grabs Strauss’ legs. He drags the detective down the hall, flings open the door to the basement, and pulls his bleeding body slowly down the stairs. Strauss’ head bounces off each step, one by one until it finally hits the concrete of the basement floor. Chris flips on the light, revealing a four foot high stainless steel tub, a long stainless steel table and an industrial bandsaw. He drags Strauss to a pole in the middle of the room and leans him up against it.

The ceiling joists creak as Ellen drags Smith’s body down the hallway.

“Strong. Isn’t she?” Chris asks rhetorically.

The loud thumping of Smith’s body crashing down the stairs worries Strauss as if the whole house is about to collapse. Ellen follows slowly behind. She steps over Smith’s limp body, approaching Strauss. She crouches down beside him.

Ellen whispers softly in Strauss’ ear, “You see, detective Strauss, this is where we dispose of nosey law enforcement agents, shitty neighbours, and basically anyone who threatens our family.”

Chris slides on long, black rubber gloves, and steps into a full hazmat suit. He straps a pair of swimming goggles to his head. He opens a large door in the corner of the room, removing a solid frozen body. The victim’s highway patrol uniform clings to his frigid corpse. Chris lays the body on the table beside the band saw. He and Ellen lift Smith’s oversized body and force it into the freezer. Chris shuts the door and confirms that it is well sealed.

Chris flips the switch on the bandsaw and the loud whirring drowns out all other sounds. He cuts the body into several pieces, rolling each one off the end of the saw, into a large plastic bin.

Ellen, crouches beside Strauss again to yell in his ear, “You see, detective, we have to freeze the bodies first. Otherwise the blood will be everywhere. We cut up those bodies on a band saw cuz they’re easier to handle that way. Then my darling love will put the pieces into that stainless steel tub. It’s  filled with acid to dissolve the remains.”

A weak cough escapes Strauss’ mouth. He winces and passes out from the pain.

Chris smashes the big red killswitch on the saw. The blade slows to a stop. He removes his gloves and places them on the table. He walks over the unconscious detective. He wakes Strauss with a hard slap to the face. “Welcome back,” Chris says with a chuckle.

Ellen whispers into Strauss’ ear, “Try to relax,” She slides behind the detective, “It’ll all be over soon.”

The rough texture of a thick rope presses against Strauss’ neck, scratching and cutting the skin. His eyes roll back in his head as his breathing slows. His limp body slumps to the floor.

CoronaDiary: Aftermath of a Global Pandemic

The following diary entries were found on the body of John C. Simmons on November 10, 2021. His notes and short pages were in shambles. The information has since been sorted through and pondered over until a young writer was able to assemble it into a coherent synopsis.

June 14, 2020

Day 90 of quarantine. This is the first time in my life I haven’t had the opportunity to go out and enjoy my birthday. FaceTiming with friends and family has filled the days, reminding me of better times. Once this all blows over, I’ll be on the next flight home to see my parents. I miss them. I miss my mom’s warm embrace and I miss my dad’s comforting and familiar cynicism. I just can’t wait for this to be done.

The pandemic is revealing all the flaws in our country and national leadership. Proving the complete incompetence of our president and his administration, the Governors have taken over commanding their states. Some are better than others, but they are all an improvement over the man that was supposed to make this country great again.

Trump’s now picking fights with China over the old “you started it” nonsense. I don’t disagree that this stemmed from China, or Trump’s assessment of the situation equating it to an arsonist lighting a house on fire during a party. How did it go? Something like, “If you’re at a house party and some idiot lights a fire in the bathroom, you don’t blame everyone, you blame the arsonist.” Which is absolutely correct. 

What he failed to mention was that if the other guests smell smoke and just stand around denying there’s a problem, or worse, fan the flames; to some degree they are also to blame.

Either way, I don’t think this is the time to pick fights. We need to work together to get through this.  

August 26, 2020

What the fuck happened to this world? I’ve spent months now locked inside my studio apartment. Cut off from the outside, my family, my friends. The internet has been down for the last 3 weeks, cutting off the entire home food delivery system; something we’ve been forced to accept as normal once all the supermarkets and grocery stores were closed. Restaurants and bars were done a month ago once they proved to be irresponsible in the fight against COVID-19. 

Yesterday, the news erupted. After months of partisan bullshit, mindless squabbling, and division that this country hasn’t seen since the civil war, the hammer finally came down, ending the reign of our inept leader. A leader that ignored all warnings and cared only for himself, his image, and his money.

While most publications and broadcasts didn’t even bother to objectively analyze what had happened, choosing instead to point fingers and continue their bitching, the report from PBS read something like this:

Forty-fifth president Donald Trump was relieved of his post today after a mother of two young girls and sole caregiver to both her parents lost her family to COVID-19. The president, as he regularly did, denied responsibility over his late and inept response to the pandemic. His departure came in the form of a hollow point bullet during a press conference this morning. Secret service officers didn’t even so much as flinch to save Trump. The shooter, who has been allowed to remain anonymous, was unobstructed in her quest to punish the late president. Hooded and somewhat shielded from the camera lenses, she marched directly up to his podium, drew her firearm, and unloaded the entire magazine of her semi-automatic pistol into the president’s body on live TV. When pressed for information, Secret Service agents, Trump’s administration, and all other suspected parties have remained silent.

Melania fled the country with her son, Barron. They haven’t been seen since late June. I have to say, I don’t blame her. 

Ivanka, Jared, Don Jr. and Eric have each been accused of several counts of embezzlement, racketeering, and conspiracy to commit fraud. They’re waiting for their trials in an undisclosed prison. Tiffany, “the embarrassment”, is the state’s prime witness.

Mike Pence, the silent VP, has stepped into the president’s position against the wishes of Congress. They felt he’d be “inadequate” in handling the crisis. Most citizens suspected he’d try to “pray the disease away”. I was one of them.

Instead, Pence actually surprised us all by allowing Dr. Fauci to immediately enact the exact measures that were required and recommended months ago. And to think, all it took was a pandemic, a full government cover up, and a loaded gun to put this country on the right track.

November 16, 2020

The world is fucked! A bunch of states have been without power for weeks. Everyone’s panicking. The growing number of low income areas have spiked the suicide and murder rates. The body count from COVID-19 is now more than 10 million worldwide. But the number of indirect deaths are more than triple that.

Trapped in my apartment until earlier this week. I had to leave quickly. The place was starting to smell and some looters had been busting down doors and robbing people in their apartments.

I’m using an old gas mask I used to use for smoking weed to keep me from contracting anything. I’ve got a backpack with a few supplies including a hunting knife, a blanket, a couple of lighters, a few other basics, and this small notepad to keep track of days and jot down some thoughts. It’s the only thing keeping me sane.

I’ve been sleeping for no more than an hour at a time and scavenging for food. I don’t know if I’ll make it. I need to find permanent shelter too. I’ve been doing my best to blend in with crowds of homeless people. Thieves don’t seem to bother them. They move in huge packs like a zombie horde. I just do my best to blend in while keeping some distance. 

Pence has proven his lack of ability by making similar mistakes to Trump and falling victim to the powers of the lobbyists, proving Congress right. He was removed from office. 

Bernie Sanders and the rest of the Senate now run the country as a Council in place of appointing a new Commander-in-Chief. They are working everyday to restore order and balance to the country, but that time is long gone.

The 2020 presidential race was cancelled two weeks ago, exactly one day before the election after Democratic nominee Joe Biden lost his battle to COVID-19. I can’t believe they’ve bothered to drag it out this long. The country is falling apart and they’re just going about their business like nothing’s happening.

The rest of the world is also a giant shit pile.

China has now taken over as the most powerful world leader in recorded history. They’ve formed a stranglehold on the rest of the world and driven almost every nation into poverty. 

The remains of The World Health Organization have now reported that the Chinese government downplayed the virus and covered up hundreds, maybe thousands of early deaths so that the world would under-react and be overwhelmed. 

They began a full investigation into China’s role and exactly how they’ve “weaponized” the virus, asking for the U.N. to intervene. But, as China’s power grew virtually overnight, they used their new influence to disband the U.N. and crush the investigation.

For the sacrifice of a few thousand Chinese citizens, the People’s Republic of China has taken the reins by decimating the global economy and turning countries on themselves.

America was going to go to war with China. Hell, I wanted to blast those assholes to the moon. But knowing that it would essentially destroy the planet, we seceded, ironically on Sept 11. 

Sanders agreed to be ruled under a new constitution formed by a coalition of American and Chinese officials. This won’t go well.

January 22, 2021

Millions more are dead across the planet. This fuckin virus has destroyed the world.

Mom and dad both got sick around Christmas. Mom pulled through, but dad didn’t make it. It ripped through him like a thresher through a wheat field. Mom’s living with Christine now. I don’t know how long they’ll be able to last. The apple really doesn’t fall far.

Sander is a fuckin’ idiot! China went back on its word to form a coalition. They began ruling from “on high” with an iron fist. Rationed medical supplies and leveraging everything they can to keep other nations on their knees, the New Republic of China has risen. Fuck!

They’ve hoarded all the best scientists, medicine, and vaccines for themselves, leaving the rest of the world to fend for itself or fall in line for a few crumbs.

Europe’s been completely quarantined with no one allowed to enter or leave. It has become its own little world within a world. It seems crazy, but they’re probably better off.

Canada and Russia were able to rally their people to save the majority of the population. Their access to some of the largest reserves of natural resources also proved useful to China. Putin and Trudeau, a couple of sleazy, anti-American communists, agreed that the lives of their people were more important than previous alliances. So they’ve now sided with China.

The overlords have appointed tens of thousands of soldiers along the American / Canadian border and several thousand on the Russian border with Eastern European countries to keep Europeans from leaving their isolated hot zone. China’s president has issued a shoot-to-kill order on both fronts.

We used to mock Canada and Russia, now we envy them. I still hate both countries.

March 11, 2021

I abandoned my place months ago and running with the homeless had its own issues. 

I’m holed up in a bunker that I found out in the middle of the wilderness. It’s totally stocked with enough canned food to last me a while. It has solar panels and a power bank for electricity. I’ve put in a bunch of sniper ports for 360 degree surveillance. There’s also a bunch of guns here and my vantage points will give me the upper hand over trespassers. I fear everyday that the owner of this place is alive and on their way to take it back.

America didn’t cooperate with other world leaders, nor did the citizens when it came to following any rules. Everyone’s fuckin “civil liberties” were too important. We never learned from our mistakes and now those freedoms we once enjoyed, are gone.

Between the virus itself, which has now mutated and is much more dangerous, and the citizens of the country turning on one another, more than 150 million Americans are now dead. Murder and theft is the new normal for a country that used to be the pinnacle of modern civilization.

Some nights I sit and reflect on the way we used to be as Americans. All the things we took for granted, the ability to come and go as we please, visiting friends and family, connecting with and loving one another. Then I think about the way we squandered those blessings. I try not to cry. It’s tough, but emotions are a weakness.

June 14, 2021

I’m tired and the confines of this bunker are starting to get to me. 

My sniper ports have come in handy a few times. There’s a ravine about a half mile away where I dumped the bodies. It didn’t feel right. None of this does. But it’s getting easier. 

There is one broadcast that my small radio picks up. It’s on all day and mostly just static. Once a day, they play a ten minute global news update. When it does play, I’m just happy to hear a third voice.

India tried to fight back against the power of the New Republic of China. Bunch of idiots! With America’s entire arsenal and elite special forces hired as mercenaries, China crushed them in a matter of a few days. Of the 900 million Indians left after the COVID-19 outbreak and civil warring, China obliterated more than three quarters of the remaining population in the short battle. The global population is now down to just under five billion.

My 30th birthday has come with some more terrible news. North Korea has joined China, Russia, and Canada. Kim Jong Un finally came out of hiding and has pledged every man, woman, and child to China’s war efforts. The “Little Rocket Man” will sacrifice his entire country to save his own hide and keep what power he has left.

August 25, 2021

I’m trapped in the bunker most days. I’m starting to hear more voices. Sometimes they’re from a passing nomadic tribe. Sometimes they’re not. 

I’ve spent some time outside camouflaging the bunker. The odd wanderer gets a little too curious sometimes. I’ve rolled 25 more bodies into the ravine.

Solar panels are starting to fail, and I have to limit the power I use. I’m hunting now. I’ve learned to dress my kills, cook on an open flame, cure meats and filter water on the go in preparation for leaving this place.

I never thought I’d say this but I’m moving to Canada. It’s a long trek, probably 20-30 days walking, but if I can cross the border, I’ll try to blend in as a Canadian and live the rest of my life there. Eh!

October 1, 2021

I’m so tired. The voices have gotten louder.

It took longer than I thought, but I made it to the border of Michigan and Canada. My journey here was mostly uneventful. The cured meats and water filtration have kept me going. I found shelter in abandoned homes and barns, even an old steel mill. I can just imagine that place at its peak. Hot, steamy, hundreds of workers keeping the manufacturing machine moving. But now it’s cold and still; the temperature of death.

I avoid other people at all costs. I had one close call with a small family in the steel mill. I came around a corner and was face-to-face with a man holding a lifeless child, a woman that looked like she had been beaten and possibly raped, and a young boy that hid behind his parents. I said nothing. I just pushed past them. I hope they make it.

I’ve scouted the border patrol for the last 24 hours looking for any sign of weakness. There are few, but they exist. Tomorrow I will cross, but for now, I must save my strength.

October 3, 2021

I made it. I’m in Canada. The cold weather is already starting to move in. I need to find shelter before the temperature drops any more. We never got this shit weather in Tennessee. But we had a lot of it growing up in Albany. 

I’m happy to be in a safer place, but I can’t stop thinking about what got America to this point.

After all the fear mongering, it turns out the biggest threat to our safety wasn’t immigrants, terrorists, taxes, our leaders or the government they formed – it was ourselves. Our hubris. Our inflated sense of self worth. It was the individualism and freedom we boasted about for decades, centuries even. We failed to listen to those that were smarter than ourselves. Foolish pride superseded our better judgment. But ultimately it was our inability to realize that there is no greatest or freest country. On this big spinning rock there are only humans, our beliefs, and whether or not we have the capacity to love and care for one another.

Photo by Scott Rodgerson on Unsplash

The Parallels of the Cannabis and Beer Industries

As the “budding” cannabis industry continues to “blossom”, we are beginning to see the industry take shape. It has already begun to morph into something that I believe mirrors the beer industry.

While I can’t bring price into the conversation because I believe that we still have a lot of head way to make in this brand new industry, I can compare the products, which I definitely have more experience with.

Canopy Growth is the ABInbev of the Canadian cannabis market. They both produce massive amounts of a mediocre product, have huge advertising budgets, and cater to casual smokers, less educated in what comprises “high-quality”. Aurora, which has a couple of good strains, would be the MillerCoors of the industry, and I guess I’ll call Tilray, the Sapporo of cannabis, although I have much more experience with Sapporo’s beer than I do Tilray’s cannabis.

What I find fascinating though is that since the cannabis industry was illegal for so long, the small batch producers haven’t had to wait for some craft product explosion to find their niche. There are plenty of smaller growers that are pumping out some mind-blowing and mind-expanding strains that would leave companies like Canopy and Aurora scratching their heads about how they could possibly compare, if only they actually cared.

These smaller growers aren’t all necessarily on the legal market and I don’t recommend someone put themselves in any legal danger, but the quality level isn’t even comparable to the big players and is far more nuanced in flavour, look, smell, taste, and most importantly – the high.

Over time, I’m sure some other companies will pop up, conglomerates will reshape the landscape, and the education level of the general public will increase. When that happens, I hope that the producers in this exciting new industry give the people what they want instead of just growing mass quantities for the sake of profits.

Legalize it? Don’t mind if I do.

As I was rolling a joint yesterday, something donned on me that I hadn’t fully thought through. I feel that many people are also in the same boat when it comes to this realization. Legalization of recreational cannabis use is on the doorstep, and it is going to change the entire world.

Say what you will about Justin Trudeau, who he is and what he’s done or maybe hasn’t done, but at the end of the day, it is in his first term as Prime Minister that he is setting in place a global revolution. Cannabis legalization is two days away and as the initial first world nation to follow through with this long overdue change, Canada is about to lead the world to the next step in our evolution. Yes, it may sound corny or overstated, but the truth is that we have been sold a bill of lies for decades and we are finally waking up to this realization, and perhaps a number of other mistruths.

Over the next few years, more countries will begin to make sane legal changes, following Canada’s lead. Those countries will gain a profitable industry, including exports and healthy economic circulation, and drastically cut down on the expenses of court back-logging and over-policing a harmless substance when compared to that of alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceutical drugs. All of which will lead to a more prosperous population.

As citizens of Canada, we have a duty to make sure that we set a positive example for the rest of the world. We must act responsibly by treating cannabis and the newly legal industry with respect, and opening the eyes of world leaders to the undeniable fact that the War on Drugs has been lost and the benefits of this move outweighs any perceived drawbacks.

Let’s take the next step together and be the positive role model and change that the world so desperately needs.

Left and Right of Centre

For most of my life I didn’t really care about politics. I just assumed, as many do, that none of it mattered since the people in power would do what they wanted regardless of how their constituents think or feel. I decided a few years ago that I would begin to follow what was happening mainly in American politics, as Canadian politics seemed boring and not as appealing or entertaining.

I would speak to different individuals and listen to their viewpoints. Sometimes we ran around in circles, sometimes we would agree, and many other times we would simply agree to disagree. Either way, it never changed anything to do with policy or politics itself, but these conversations did help me to understand the basics regarding the political spectrum and the positions of others.

About two years ago, I was swayed to the far left in my mindset, and began, or so I thought, to care about the so-called “little guy”, being the disenfranchised and/or “helpless”. I followed the entire campaign of Bernie Sanders, finding myself agreeing with much of what he had to say. While everyone within the political spectrum attacked him, I felt that he was the most genuine of the presidential candidates. I was inundated with the opinions of progressive shows like The Young Turks, and found myself falling victim to the exact reactionary thinking that guys like Ben Shapiro and any scholar of logic and reasoning are telling their followers to be cautious of. This far left school of thought governed my decisions and how I voted when it came to the last Canadian Federal election.

About a year ago I started working alongside a young, intelligent guy from Florida. He was a Trump voter, but not really a supporter, as he was more anti-Hillary Clinton than he was pro-Trump. He also made a strong argument for the true definition of libertarianism, and how it differs from the fringe beliefs of anarchism. We agreed on some policies, disagreed on others, but always managed to keep our conversations civil, and showed enough respect to one another to at least listen to the other side. While these interactions didn’t necessarily change my mind, it assisted in an evolution of my thinking. I began to blame crony capitalism, lobbyists, and the allowed manipulation of the system, rather than capitalists and the super rich themselves, for the current social state of the US, and how it both contrasts with and mirrors that of the Canadian government and system at large.

Recently, I have been absorbing more centrist and right leaning content, in which I have found some truths, but don’t fully agree with everything that they have to say. It has fed the analytical portion of my brain, the same way that the progressive-liberal side fed my feelings. I found myself agreeing with capitalists and their right to pursue financial success without having to give up most of it to taxes, which tied back to earlier discussions about the essence of libertarianism.

As I continue to learn and shape my thought process and what I, as an individual, deem as to be successful strategies for creating a functioning and inclusive society, I have become increasingly more confused with where my loyalties lie. What I can say is that being more fluid in my thinking creates opportunity to see the good and bad of all sides’ policies, as well as landing me in the position of being both left and right of centre.

All things considered, I don’t believe that mankind has seen a perfect government, nor will they ever. But I do believe that somewhere buried in the policies of all of the parties and perhaps parties still to come, there is a healthy balance of social progression and fiscal responsibility.