I was pleased to see Harvey Silverglate’s story about the collaboration between myself and Ron Paul in the effort to remove all federal criminal restrictions on personal marijuana use (Freedom Watch: “Are Civil (Liberties) Unions America’s Best Hope?“, This Just In, July 15). I believe this is one area where the public is far ahead of my political colleagues who are still bogged down by the fear that they will be denounced for being “soft on drugs” by continuing the intrusive, hypocritical, and wasteful policy of marijuana prohibition at the federal level. And I want to give assurances that one of the wishes Harvey expressed in the article — namely, that this joint effort by Ron Paul and myself on behalf of individual liberty will extend to other issues — is in fact already the case. We are together in sponsoring a bill that would repeal the outrageous federal ban on Internet gambling, since we will believe that adults who wish to gamble with their own money should in no way be treated as criminals for doing so. We also joined together this time, sadly, with only one other member on the vote — to object to an effort to ban political protests not simply at gravesites, where it is appropriate to enact such a prohibition, but at considerable distances lest funeral goers have to pass by obnoxious signs. I took particular pleasure in this one because the major funeral protestor, as people know, is the bizarre homophobe from Kansas, who announces that Americans are killed in wars because God dislikes the increasing gains we are making in providing legal equality for LGBT people. His reaction when he was asked by the Boston Herald to comment on the fact that one of the few openly gay members of the House was one of his few defenders was predictably satisfying.
While Ron Paul and I obviously continue to differ on a number of issues in the economic field, we will be working together on similar issues where the government is wholly inappropriately intruding into individual decisions that are nobody’s business but the person who makes them.
The Boston Phoenix, August 12, 2011