Against The "War On Drugs"

Let us be clear: There is not now, nor has there ever been, a "War on Drugs."

What there is is a cynical program of political duplicity; the intent of which is not to prevent drug abuse (which it encourages), but to create a climate of distrust, fear, hostility, alienation, divisiveness, and violence within our society. The so called "War on Drugs" is in reality a war of cultural prejudice waged primarily against the young, the poor, the non-white and the socially disaffected to the advantage of the Elected, the Corporate, the Privileged and the Few.

President Nixon launched this war against American citizens in 1968, at a time of extreme political and social unrest. For Nixon, it was a method of "getting even" with "uppity blacks," "radical leftists" and "dirty" hippies" that he and the nefarious interests he represented (especially those who benefited economically from the war in Vietnam) regarded as "second class citizens" and "traitors" to the American way of life.

On the contrary: What we were doing then, and what we are doing now, is trying to liberate America from a reign of political and economic tyranny that is sustained by rhetorical propaganda and misinformation. We love America and the Constitution and wish nothing more than to see her succeed in her Great Promise of providing Freedom and Justice for All. Those who oppose this very High Aim, whether out of ignorance, greed or bigotry, are the true enemies of our nation and its Constitution.

Dividing Americans against themselves, making them mistrust, fear and wage war against their fellow citizens: This is what the so called "War on Drugs" was meant to do--and that is precisely what it has done and is doing--far more successfully than even Richard Nixon could have hoped. What better way to destroy the gains blacks were making through the Civil Rights movement than to flood the ghettos with drugs which addict thousands of users, offering the allure for "quick" money and escape from poverty, while simultaneously creating divisions and violent "turf wars" between ghetto gangs? All this while creating the political justifications and judicial sanctions for increasingly militaristic police "crack downs," arresting, incarcerating (killing when necessary) and ruining the lives of hundreds of thousands of black men, their families and their communities.

After Nixon, both Ronald Regan and George Bush found their own uses for the "War on Drugs." Besides the political advantages of "getting tough" on the very crime and violence that prohibition inevitably engenders, drug smuggling by covert factions within the federal system itself created vast sums of unregulated money to fund illegal military operations outside our nations boarders. What began as a cynical attitude of social malice quickly turned into a bad habit of deception and corruption. Nothing, my friends, is more addictive than power.

At this point in our history--the election year of 1996--this insidious and increasingly malignant and militaristic policy is still with us. And to judge by President Clinton's appointment of General Barry McCaffrey as "Drug Czar," it may be about to get much worse. This so called "policy" has become such a part of our media conditioned perception of reality that it is difficult to imagine an America without it. Anyone who publicly opposes the inflamed rhetoric or tries to bring rational, informed discussion to the issue, is branded a "traitor," characterized as a "drug pusher" or worse--in precisely the same way leftists were branded as "communists" in the McCarthy era of the 1950s. Witness the forced resignation of Surgeon General Jocylin Elders after she took an informed and reasoned position of leadership on this issue. She understood, as more and more Americans are coming to understand, that making criminals of drug users not only does not solve the problems associated with drug abuse, it exacerbates them far beyond the harms of the drugs. Indeed, with forfeiture laws and the kinds of invasions of our privacy that it allows, the "War on Drugs" has put the civil liberties of all citizens in jeopardy.

It is time for us to ARM OURSELVES against this misguided tyranny with information, with conviction and with every legal strategy for a redress of grievances that our Constitution allows.

Thank You,

Arm Yourself