Friday, April 06, 2007

Let's ALL Talk About The War On Drugs

[Posted by reader_iam]

I agree, for the most part, with what Arianna Huffington writes in this post about our War on Drugs, in which she is specifically challenging Democratic presidential candidates on their failure to talk about it.

But--given my officially registered status of "No Party" voter--I want all presidential candidates to address this issue, and the myriad others emanating from it. (For that matter, I want anyone who will be running for Congress, incumbents and challengers, to speak up, too.)

We are overdue for having a serious national debate on what it is we think we're doing, and the many negative consequences of what we've done. Yes, I know: We have so many national debates going on at present that adding another is a daunting--not to mention deafening--prospect. But the War on Drugs--more specifically, its consequences--touches upon almost every other major (primarily, but emphatically not confined to,) domestic issue.

Public health. The health care system. Public safety. Increased crime. Stress on the criminal justice system. Overloaded court dockets. Exploding prison populations. Overcrowded prisons. Prisons that create violent criminals out of nonviolent ones. Education. Breakdown of the family. The welfare of children. Destruction of neighborhoods and other public spaces. Race relations. Class relations. Civil liberties violations. Expanded incidences of takings and other abuses of government power. The expenditure of vast sums of public monies that could be used in so many better ways.

Need I go on? Because I could, you know.

This ought to be an issue that cuts across party lines and on which there ought to be a basis to cooperate, because in fact there have been a number of conservative voices who have spoken out against the War on Drugs as well, in some instances long ago. (The obvious example of the latter.) There are excellent philosophical and practical cases to be made from left, right, and center that we are (and have been) flat-out wrong, and destructive, to continue pursuing the course set decades ago. Instead, the politics of it trumps all.

Funny, how "bipartisan" cynicism and a lack of courage can be.

Update: Meanwhile, a Missouri lawmaker appears to want to establish a baking soda registry. One guess why.

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