The only thing strange about Oklahoma City mayoral candidate and Councilman Ed Shadid talking openly about his long-term recovery from pot addiction is that anyone would think it’s strange in the first place.
Shadid’s continuing honesty about his recovery has been treated by his opponents as part of a pattern of a campaign that seems “strange,” according to a recent post in The McCarville Report blog. Mike McCarville who operates the blog has ties to Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, who is running for re-election against Shadid.
That Shadid, a physician who serves Ward 2, is in long-term recovery is no secret for people who know him or have taken time to get to know about him. He also knows that his opponents, as they did when he ran for his council seat, are going to attack him on the issue and depict him as a stoner caricature.
Although it’s a good idea on a political level that Shadid get in front of these attacks, that’s not his point about the honesty and openness. I believe that sincerely. As a physician, Shadid is extremely concerned about the damaging role addiction plays in our culture and the lack of treatment facilities for it in this area. By opening up about his recovery, he helps to create a broader dialogue about addiction, which is widespread in central Oklahoma and affects people of all walks of life. What he’s doing is pretty remarkable.
Shadid recently sent out a mailer that talked about his recovery, and he mentioned it in a speech. He mentioned his recovery to me in a conversation I had with him perhaps two years ago. He’s not trying to hide it. The online Red Dirt Report blog posted an excellent and thorough interview with Shadid about this issue recently.
I won’t get into the issue of whether marijuana is physically addictive or not. The Red Dirt Report interview touches on that subject. I do know if someone is dependent on a drug or alcohol then it’s up to that person to accept if it’s an addiction or not. By accepting it’s an addiction, a person can move into recovery. It’s the basic principle of addiction and recovery.
Another issue Shadid’s opponents bring up on The McCarville Report post is his divorce, as if that is somehow part of some strange political campaign, too. So let’s be clear: Shadid is a divorced person who once smoked pot. I wonder how many people fit that description in Oklahoma City, whatever their political affiliation? Don’t forget Cornett is also divorced and so is the state’s governor, Mary Fallin. At the time of their divorce, Cornett’s then wife, Lisa, told The Oklahoman in 2011, “I still love him and want to stay married. It wasn’t a mutual decision.”
In addition, The Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne claimed on stage at a concert in 2011 that Cornett smoked pot, which was reported by The Lost Ogle blog. Was the flamboyant Coyne just joking and playing to the crowd? Can Cornett pass a drug test? I’ll bet that Shadid can.
All these petty suggestions about the two mayoral candidates, and I’ll include my reference to Cornett’s divorce and my previous paragraph in that list, do nothing to create a discussion about the city’s future. Both Shadid and Cornett are just as human as the rest of us.
In the end, though, it’s Shadid’s opponents that are focusing on smear tactics to deflect the campaign away from the issues, such as increasing police and fire protection, making Oklahoma City more walkable and improving the overall health of its residents. Does it show that perhaps Cornett and his supporters have nothing more to offer the city in terms of ideas and initiatives and simply want to make this an ugly election? This strategy backfired against Shadid’s opponents in his council election, and it could backfire again.