Daily Kos and the Drug War

Regular readers of this blog know that I come down very hard on the current administration (and properly so). They’ve got the ball right now and they’re responsible for the injustices that are going on in this war against the people. However, I’m also harsh when I find drug war cheerleaders on any point in the political spectrum. In general, I find that informed individuals on both the left and the right are in favor of reform. Uninformed individuals (particularly those who still mistakenly believe that laws are an effective way to reduce drug use), and those politicians too corrupted by power, are more likely to favor the drug war.
I’m continually amazed and disturbed at how much the drug war is ignored by the main liberal blogs. It’s bad enough that the Democratic Party Platform ignores the vast numbers of victims of our policies. This is almost to be expected. But why the blogs?
Along with dozens of other sites, I visit Daily Kos regularly (although I admit I haven’t spent the time to figure out the entire community structure and rarely venture beyond the main page). The drug war almost never shows up, and when it does, it’s not unusual to find ignorant comments like this one:

If it ain’t gay marriage that will kill us, it’s pro-dope

Come on, people. æIf we are the party of fag loving, dope smoking, military hating hippies, we are in permanent minority status.


or this one

Who cares?


I want to let you in on a secret.

Being Anti-drug use is a bipartisan position.

Leave this shit to NORML to advocate for, we’ve got more important things to worry about.

– Steve4Clark

The sad thing is that both of these were in response to a story about medical marijuana, and so I ask them as I must…

Why do you want to throw sick people in jail for following the advice of their doctor?

As to that “minority status,” dataguy, let me give one possible explanation…
In 1986, Public Law 99-570 passed overwhelmingly without committee hearings, with 301 co-sponsors, including pretty much all of the Democratic leadership. You see, a basketball player had just died of a drug overdose and our representatives were tripping over each other to eagerly demonstrate that they were “tough on drugs.” One of the provisions in this bill was to create a 100 to 1 threshold between powder and crack cocaine. In other words 1/100th of the amount of crack would get the same penalty as the immensely larger quantity of powder. An interesting little note. Blacks tended to prefer crack. Whites tended to prefer powder.
Partly because of this law (and other racist elements of the drug war), we started putting blacks away for drug offenses in record numbers.
In fact, in large part due to the drug war, over 1 in 20 black men of voting age in the country is in a state or federal prison. This is also true in Florida. Now consider the list of ex-felons in Florida who were removed from the voting rolls in 2000 (about 20,000 of whom were black), along with those still in jail simply because they did the wrong kind of cocaine. Consider that blacks in Florida voted overwhelmingly Democrat.
How did that election turn out in 2000, dataguy?
Those on the left have time and time again shot themselves in the foot over the drug war. This is due in part to not having all the facts, but often from fear. Fear of appearing weak.
“We’re just as tough on drugs and crime as the Republicans are,” they say. “We’re passing even tougher laws and harsher sentences. No one can accuse us of being soft on drugs.”
The problem is that until you learn to get “smart” on drugs, you will be promoting and encouraging a corrupt, racist war that fuels a violent criminal black-market. It’s not just about hippies wanting to smoke pot, and it’s time you learned that.
I know that I’m coming down on a whole lot of the Kos community for what is primarily a sin of omission, but forgive me when it seems to the casual observer that you wouldn’t have much of a drug policy reform presence on the front page if it wasn’t for comments from Ben Masel. However, thanks to a note today from nephalim, I discovered there is a tiny drug policy reform presence hidden further within the community — mostly due to nephalim’s extensive pieces on drug prohibition history and heroin/opiate addiction treatment.
And now, finally, there is a Drug War page in the dKosopedia. Horribly anemic, but it’s there.
So I have a challenge for Drug WarRant readers who are on the left.

  1. Go to nephalim’s recent request for collaboration and see if you can help him out.
  2. Get involved in Daily Kos and get the drug war into their consciousness. Educate, inform, and elevate to the front page.
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