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Mother Knows Best?
by Floyd Ferris Landrath

Something like keystone cops we 5 tumble out of the little car into a chilly, wet and blustery Spring day custom made for the Northwet. We gather our signs and photos of drug war POWs and their families. No one howls at an absent moon, but then again, ask for whom the bell really tolls?

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Something like keystone cops we 5 tumble out of the little car into a chilly, wet and blustery Spring day custom made for the Northwet. We gather our signs and photos of drug war POWs and their families. No one howls at an absent moon, but then again, ask for whom the bell really tolls? Not much is said between us, it's become a routine now, these weekly Drug Peace Vigils. JT - who makes so much of this possible - has loaded the video tape. He films us as we march towards the off-street entrance to 700 Lloyd Center and the office of US Senator Ron Wyden, therein. But first we push through the center of the towering monolith, avoiding suspicious glances, security cameras and personnel. We proceed unimpeded - perhaps even determined - to the front entrance and thereupon do bless and declare this place to be a Drug Peace Zone. The vigil is now in the house. God-bless this house. Or more precisely, the curb next to the bus stop. It's 11:15am, right on time. Whatever that means. We assume the classic vigil position, spacing our small number to get maximum exposure of our subversive ideas. The next 45 minutes pass in relative inactivity, interrupted periodically by the need to shift my sign hand, or wave to a "honker." We love you honkers. You just know when you are in the zone. Honk, honk. Often my mind wanders as I stand there looking stupid, but holding a sign which, if honks and waves and nods and holding up that fatty you be puff'n on are any indication, seems to make a lot of sense. Something pretty rare these days when it comes to the serious subject of US drug policy. Or as I like to put it, that full throttled gurgling sound of both blood and money being flushed down the drug war toilet. A commode sound we clearly heard last week in the plumbing of US Senator Gordon Smith's World Trade Center (aka WTOh-Oh) office. Hope he gets that fixed by April 27 when we return. But I digress, excuse me. We enter a spacious reception area in suite # 450 and are almost immediately greeted with a warm smile worn by one Lise Markgraf, Sen. Wyden's State Scheduler. Sweet, paternal smile aside, next came the announcement that "we do not allow recording of private meetings in this office," Markgraf said with an unmistakable authority that reminded me of my mother catching me with my hand in the cookie jar before dinner. Hmmm, I could see this Lise Markgraf (why does that name sound familiar?) was going to be a challenge. I looked at my companions, it was worse than I expected. JT looked dazed, like a deer in the headlights, frozen in fear. We were guilt tripping, through mother-land. Then, without protest JT turned off the video and put the camera away. Smitten by this lady's subtle yet firm charm, or was it the fear of being grounded and sent to our rooms? I wasn't quite sure which. I remind myself of the KISS principle, Keep It Simple Stupid. "We want drug peace," I began rather meekly. "What's that?" Markgraf shot back. "Prohibition does not work, it's incompatible with our Constitution, an insult to both reason and freedom," I rattle back beginning to gather my wits. "Did you all see the movie Traffic?" she ask the group. "Wow, nice segue," I thought to myself. Markgraf was particularly struck by the part in the movie when the drug czar played by Michael Douglas hopelessly ask, "how can I wage a war on my own family?" after discovering his teen-age daughter is a crack addict. And much to Markgraf's credit she noted the glaring inconsistency, racism involved in the enforcement and incarceration sides of the drug war equation. I respectfully suggested she inform the Senator. I have to admit I was beginning to like this Lise Markgraf, but I was still pissed-off about shutting down our video. I reminded her of that, we had some unfriendly eye-contact and then went on. Problem child, I. So, for the next few minutes I sat back as the group covered various issues from narcotics for the dying to industrial hemp. What a crew! A lively, intelligent conversation ensued. Markgraf took copious notes. After a lull I asked if all had had their say and all said yes, they were done. "We are here today to ask the Senator one question, a simple yes or no question. Does Senator Wyden support the drug war? We will return in 30 days for an answer." And that was that. We were so out of there. Yes she's a sly fox, this woman with the familiar last name. Not the last word to be sure, and no disrespect intended, but it was 'our' period at the end of the sentence at the end of the paragraph of the first chapter. The ball now squarely in her and Wyden's court. I felt a bit like the masked Zerro, slash 'Z.' Nonetheless, truth be told, I had this compelling urge to return home and clean-up my room. To be continued...

Please support this work, become a card-carrying member of the nonpartisan American Antiprohibition League. (503/235-4524, , 3125 SE Belmont St., Portland, OR 97214). "There can be no civil society in America without drug peace."-Floyd Ferris Landrath, AAL Founder

Wanted: volunteers to set-up, staff and transport Portland Saturday Market Antiprohibition table. Register voters, collect petition signatures, hand out literature. Meet lots of cool people and help escalate Drug Peace. If interested please call 503-235-4524. (We could also use the loan or donation of a small canopy, or a large patio umbrella.)

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Feb 27 2002, 11:39:18
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