General Jeff Sessions and the War on Drugs
Here we go again. Another long one, dedicated to the most dangerous man in Washington: Jeffrey Beauregard (“No Regard”) Sessions III. Jeff has some new directions for prosecutors in drug cases, which is in line with his statements that this administration is going to be much tougher on drugs than the previous ones. A War on Drugs II, if you will..
I initially was going to write that the original War on Drugs did not work, but in order to evaluate its effectiveness, you have to ask yourself: what was its objective?
It did not get drugs off the street. But it *did* succeed in imprisoning people of color at alarming rates. And after their release, in severely affecting their employment prospects, even costing them their right to vote in many states.
This is institutionalized racism (more cynically: and a response to over-population). Need proof? Look up the differences in the “most severe charges and penalties” for possession of the same amount of crack vs. cocaine. Look up the likelihood of a conviction and imprisonment for a nonviolent drug crime by race. It turns people with debilitating addictions into people with debilitating convictions.
And the impact ripples through generations.
Before you tell me not everything is a race issue, imagine: blacks represent 12% of the population, 37% of the prison population, and only 6% of small business ownership in the US.
You grow up in this society, black. What feels like the most likely life outcome to you?
And sure, socioeconomic status plays a role.. but check that correlation with race. And then imagine we elect a president who actually said in a debate that he wanted to go back to the Stop and Frisk era. Coupled with all the other policies and white supremacist ties this administration has, it’s not surprising. But just because it’s not surprising does not mean we should let it happen.
I am so tired, exhausted and sad, but I’m going to keep posting and talking, protesting, donating, calling, educating myself. How about you?
I am going to keep telling you that every time Trump seems completely and unfathomably unhinged, look around because the administration is either bombing someone internationally or taking action against basic human rights for some subdominant group.
Let me make one thing clear: this stance is not about helping drug addicts and fighting this horrible epidemic of opioids and other drug abuse sweeping our country, which I believe is a medical problem (note: do you think rehab or basic addiction services are covered in the GOP’s AHCA?) This is about policing, convictions, incarceration and the biases in the criminal justice system.
Anyway, in keeping with my 2017 goal of posting something productive each time I wax sociopolitical, what can we do?:
- go to the Drug Policy Alliance website- they have a few suggestions for actions you can take immediately, including donating to them if you like what they’re doing. I did.
- Share this post (you have my permission)
- Talk to each other. Talk to me ( / give me a hug, I hate this man.)
Those of you who know me know that I have a long and difficult history with this topic. It is not easy to write this post, nor was it easy to get to the place I am now, in the support of the decriminalization* of drugs.
Thank you for reading.
- note: decriminalization of drug use is not promotion. It’s what we need for regulation and rehabilitation.