An Assembly of Pieces

James Anderson Merritt's piecemeal thoughts and observations, and the occasional attempt to put some of the pieces together.
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All material except cited quotations Copyright (C) 2004-2008 by James Anderson Merritt. All rights reserved.
Wednesday, August 20, 2003
Death Throes of the Drug War?

I have made comparisons between the Drug War and the Vietnam War over the years. Perhaps it is time for another. You be the judge.

Earlier in the week, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer printed this story about the just-concluded 2003 Seattle Hempfest.

Organizers estimated that the Hempfest drew its largest crowd ever -- between 175,000 and 200,000 -- and that "a "lot" of voters were registered at the event.

This, even as Drug Warriors in the ONDCP and DEA are taking to their megaphones to publicize their escalation of the failed war on drugs. Doctors are being threatened with the loss of their prescription "privileges" for even discussing medical marijuana with patients, while judges are being threatened with discipline for handing out sentences that the Federal Department of Justice and the Congress deem "too lenient." Venue owners are given "friendly warning" by government agents that any illegal drug activity on their premises can lead to criminal prosecution and seizure of the venue as "forfeited" property under the anti-drug laws. I wonder if similar warnings were given to the owners of the Hempfest venue. If so, congratulations to them for not caving in to the pressure.

I remember the waning days of the Vietnam war -- the days before we declared "Peace With Honor" -- when reports of bombings and violent military attacks seemed to increase on the nightly news. US officials were positively spittle-flecked in their insistence that we were winning that war, that we needed to win that war or the dominoes would fall around the world, that a little more time and commitment of American resources would win that war, and that anyone who opposed the war was at very least a tool of the international communist conspiracy that was bent on world domination and the destruction of the American way of life. In other words, the Vietnam War machine was lashing out, in great, violent death throes, which seem eerily similar to the federal propaganda explosion we are now seeing in the context of the Drug War.

Could it be that the politicians have been crunching their numbers, studying their demographics, and preparing for the inevitable moment when the US must declare "Peace With Honor" in the Drug War? Clearly, some are living in denial and acting out on the national and world stages. But maybe, just maybe, the power players are taking heed of the public will, as shown in the many voter approvals of medical marijuana laws across the country, not to mention the solid and growing attendance at events such as Hempfest. Might it be that the irrational denial exhibited by the Drug Warriors is motivated by the crumbling support for their activities from politicians who are preparing for the big change to come? That the Drug Warriors know the only way to keep their jobs is to frighten and browbeat the public into getting back in line, behind this failed War? That fewer and fewer citizens are falling for the once-reliable fear-and-patriotism line?

Just something to think about...


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