Location: Granite Falls, North Carolina, United States

I'm an ordained United Methodist minister no longer pastoring churches, a former media producer with skills ten years out of date, a writer trying to sell my first novel, and a sales associate keeping body and soul together working for the People's Republic of Corporate America. I'm married to the most wonderful woman in the world, who was my best friend for 17 years before we married.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

On the War on Drugs

Another rant on hypocrisy, I'm afraid.

George Will, every so often, points out how heroin is both purer and cheaper now than when the "War on Drugs" started. It has been a dismal failure, yet no one wants his or her child to become as drug-addled as Rush Limbaugh or some other addicts, at least one in every family.

Therefore, politicians exploit the fears of parents (both in the literal and Transactional Analysis senses) to keep the draconian laws in force. Other politicians are too chicken to challenge this, lest someone use the words, "soft on drugs" or "soft on crime" in one of the thirty-second smear ads they're going to run, anyway. This is why the Clinton Administration used the power of the federal government to try to thwart the will of the people to legalize medical marijuana use when those people exercised their Constitutional authority to make laws for their own states.

Clinton admits using marijuana (even though he didn't inhale) and Bush admits to using cocaine (at Camp David while his father was President, according to some witnesses). Yet neither has the cojones to stand up and say that outlawing drugs has failed.

The answer is to openly discuss legalization/decriminalization issues while concentrating on eliminating the demand for drugs. Giving young people alternatives to chemical escapes from intolerable conditions; offering adequate, free rehab to addicts; allowing addicts to get drugs by prescription until they can kick the habit through rehab. These make sense, but nobody has the backbone to stand up and say so.

At least part of the reason is that looking at the demand side of any issue is essentially off the table. The Reagan era brought in "supply side" economics which brought us unprecedented deficits while making the rich richer and the poor poorer. (A rising tide won't lift a boat with a hole in the hull.) If you looked at the demand side, you would understand why raising the minimum wage lowers unemployment and promotes small business growth. That would be unacceptable to the business interests that control Congress.

Ah, well. Just another hoot in the whirlwind.


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