What marijuana, tobacco products, automobiles, trains and their ilk have in common: advertising, and a too-gullible public.
‘Doggonit!’ exclaimed the owner of the puppy, pursuant to the pet doctor’s presumption that her beloved pet had probably swallowed pot in a public park.
“Odd behavior. The puppy was lethargic and shaky, acting as though he were drunk.”
Several cases every month, the doctor estimates their clinic sees.
Pot in a public park. Consumed by pets. Left by people. Who voted to legalize the stuff.
Because, after all, it’s popular (I-502).
Automobiles in 1922 were not popular. Alfred P. Sloan, President, General Motors, decided to change that.
“In a riveting tale of colossal negligence and corporate skullduggery. . . auto makers duped the American people. . ..”
So reads, in part, the introduction to the book “Taken for a Ride”. A film by the same title references General Motors as artificially inseminating the American public, giving birth to the notion that “motorization is the wave of the future.”
The gestation period however called for aborting what was literally in the way – street cars. Steel track ran right smack dab down the middle of the road – space GM wanted for its new automobiles. And since in 1922 only one in ten owned a car, Sloan saw the opportunity to seize 90 percent of the market share.
Problem: Streetcars impeded ‘progress’.
Issuing ads across the country, General Motors figuratively ‘sold the public a bill of goods’ promoting four tires vs. two rails calling the motorization of America “the most important event in this history of community transportation.”
The campaign that would leave the tracks abandoned and the ‘Red Cars’ “junked, stacked, and left to rot” was based on creating the impression “of a nationwide trend away from rail. But there was no trend.”
What happened was an ad-created ‘need’.
Fast-forward 86 years to the year 2008.
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has $181 Million Federal Stimulus money by which to fast-track fast trains through the heart of otherwise generally slow-living, life-congested neighborhoods.
Ironically, a similar pattern as was propagated among the public nearly a century ago is once again passed off as proof of a need that doesn’t exist.
WSDOT acknowledges “over 80 percent of Cascades trips are leisure-based.”
That claim arouses Lakewood’s suspicion that WSDOT’s highspeed rail “plan” was not in fact founded upon the “demand for Amtrak Cascades service” but rather “appears to be strongly tied to marketing.”
How about cigarettes? Chances are you can complete this jingle: “Winston takes good . . . .”
How many World War I troops knew the health risks associated with smoking cigarettes having received “free or subsidized branded cigarettes” while overseas?
The advertisements that “even contained children or doctors in their efforts to sway new customers to their specific brand” – were those honest?
If something is propagated as fashionable, it’s probably questionable, given people as consumers appear to be quite gullible.
Interestingly, the only argument early on opposing cigarettes was one “made on moral grounds.”
Turns out the ‘moralists’ were right.
Likewise, though those opposing prohibition described as “fruitless” the effort of “moralists to use criminal law to control intoxicating substances” turns out the moralists were right then too.
All who maintained – in the face of the popularly promoted product – that it was morally repugnant, were right.
Not the majority.
Will Lakewood be the latest chapter in “the riveting tale of colossal negligence and corporate skullduggery,” in which the marijuana industry will have duped the people should the Council join the parade of pot pushers, users – and puppies – consumers and ingesters all, when it decides soon whether to allow retail marijuana?
Are there any able to jam on their mental, let alone moral, brakes before we plummet off yet another precipice promulgated by pushers of whatever penchant is popular?
The Clover Park School District board can, and has, having voted no to recreational marijuana in Lakewood.
Ditto the Planning Commission.
Will the Lakewood City Council?
Testimony will be heard the evening of May 7 as well.