Sunday, March 27, 2016

Drugs Have Won In More Ways Than We Thought

As I have said previously, in the so-called war on drugs, drugs have won, hands down.  When I wrote that, I was referring, of course, to deal with the scourge of drug use in our society with a military response--one that has simply escalated the amount of money needed by the sellers to sell their "products," and, correspondingly, the price that desperate people are willing to pay in order to get them.  It has devasted whole neighborhoods, incarcerated millions of people who could otherwise have been law-abiding citizens, and taken billions of dollars away from othe public priorities.

And, as it turns out, none of this was by accident.  According to one of Richard Nixon's chief henchmen-in-office, John Ehrlichman, it was all a plot to stigmatize African-Americans and the anti-Vietnam-war effort, to delegitimize their grievances so that they could rally the conservative white vote to their cause.

The veracity of this story has been disputed in the media.  But, honestly, how unlikely is it that the gang responsible for Watergate would have come up with something like this?  For that matter, how unlikely is it that the acknowledged authors of the so-called "Southern strategy" would have done so? It fits right in with their overall thinking and tactics.  And, given the fact that those incarcerated by the "war on drugs" are overwhelmingly African-American, one would have to conceed that it has been devastatingly successful for conservatives--and deadly for everyone else.

Perhaps Ehrlichman's admission should be the last nail in the coffin of the war on drugs.  It's time to end this war once and for all, before it ends us.  Deal with drugs as we should deal with all public health issues, with treatment and therapy, and not with guns and bars.

No comments: