August 3rd, 1998
Too, Have a Dream
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 he risked his life to
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 what my doctor and I 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.
August 3, 1998