Wednesday, March 19, 2008

on the war on drugs.

I have a lot of things to say on this topic. But first, I want to point people toward the creators of The Wire's recent article in TIME magazine, wherein they describe how they'll be fighting against it: anytime they're on the jury of a nonviolent drug arrest, they'll move to acquit.

More than just a good idea (hey, look how right we were to call them smart, they even quote and use as back-up Thoreau's Civil Disobedience!), I think it's a good sign on behalf of the times that TIME (no pun or unnecessary word play intended) was willing to publish this article.

Whenever people look at me and ask me how I can be so calm (If you aren't outraged, you haven't been paying attention! What kind of liberal progressive can I be if I'm not foaming at the mouth all the time?!), I always cite the same kind of sobering statistics: overall, literacy is up. Women have rights they didn't two hundred years ago. Blacks have rights they didn't one hundred years ago. One hundred years from now, we'll look at this move to ban gay marriage as archaic and laughable (and, more somberly, shameful). We, as a people, are getting better. I like to think that America is a shining beacon for that 'getting-better-ness' and I like to think that, despite the fact that we've missed a lot of opportunities lately, we're still pretty good at being good. We have less crime, as a whole. We still do good things. We still have Bill Gates, giving back to the community in astronomical figures, getting the realization that somebody has to do it and he has the means, so why not him?

Yes, I know, there are bad things: the war on drugs is one of them. That's right, when I run for office, they'll be able to come back here and pull that quote from my very own writing. But I hope that I'll stand by it (as another man has been standing by his guns recently - and not so recently, let's not forget) because I believe it. Drug abuse is bad. The war on drugs that makes criminals out of people who, in all likelihood, have much more significant problems, is worse. It's a losing battle.

And I'll have more to say about it in the future. But all you need to do is think: would you want your mother or father or son or daughter locked up for a non-violent crime? There are better ways to deal with this.

1 comment:

Brando said...

Word. Civil crimes like hackers and tax evaders and drug addicts don't deserve to share a cell with a murder on a life sentence. I've been watching this show on MSNBC called locked up (I think). It's about prison, and in San Quenton Prison in Cali, they don't even separate the criminals by the severity of the crime, so you're pacifist pothead could very well end up being gangbanged by a bunch of rapists/killers. As the jails become more overcrowded, they will inevitably start moving towards outpatient counseling, and I hope it works, because I'm pretty sure given the percentage of inmates in for repeat drug offenses, that the current system isn't working.