It was with some consternation that I read Ken Robinson’s complaint that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is not “… a political leader willing to embrace positive change” (Lagniappe, May 4). Among the positive change he advocates Sessions embracing is the legalization of a mind-altering drug, marijuana. His reason for advocating the change is that national polls taken in November 2016 reported the highest-ever support.
A leader, political or otherwise, is not someone who takes a poll, then acts accordingly. That is a follower, not a leader. A leader guides or directs based on in-depth experience, ability to be objective, etc. This is why important leadership positions are usually afforded to the mature.
Robinson is touting legalization as a new and fresh approach, unaware that it is actually very old. In the 1830s some scholar-officials in China recommended legalizing opium, arguing that legalizing it would permit them to regulate and tax it. Others recommended a more hardline approach. After listening to both sides of the debate, the emperor decided to take the advice of the hardliners. History does not record that he took a poll before deciding.
Robinson complains of “no treatment for those with substance abuse issues” in past decades, apparently unaware of the existence right here in Mobile Drug Court. Treatment is not a cure-all. Some drug offenders do not want to stop using chemicals and even drug court cannot help them.
Contrary to Robinson’s conclusion that doing anything new is the recipe for success, I much prefer making decisions the way a true leader would — based on in-depth knowledge of factual information, history and enduring values, using objectivity and a wealth of experience. These are qualities that have won Sessions the admiration of scores of Alabamians for many years.
G. Smith Davis
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