August 3rd, 1998
It was 30 years ago today, just two days short of my 19th birthday, that my father called his drinking buddy, a policeman, to come over and scare me into never smoking marijuana again.
My poor father. He was only doing what he thought was best for his son, as he was taught by the country his risked his life to protect.
The cop, of course, didn't just scare me, but arrested me. It's the only thing cops know how to do right.
It cut a gash through my family that never healed and almost certainly hastened my father's decent into alcoholism that led to his death not four years later.
Today, I write this in federal custody. My crime? Marijuana, again. My government is trying to scare me into doing what it thinks best to treat my AIDS no matter I and my doctor may think about it.
Last night I had a dream more vivid than life. My father came out of his bedroom, hands raised, as though to attack me. I was startled for only a moment. Then I saw my father behind my fear.
I hugged him, embraced him, stroked his hair, told him I loved him, told him everything was all right.
His threatening facade melted in my arms. Beneath was a trembling old man, very much in need of his son's love.
And so it is with my country, my country 'tis of me, and I my country's son.
It is the love of freedom, not the hatred of tyranny, that will turn this warring parent into an adored embrace.