I want to take a moment to follow up on my last post Obama and the drug war. Let me make it clear that I am not at all surprised by Obama’s statements. I’ve said for years that Obama was unlikely to be a leader in drug policy reform. And given his past drug use, the political reality was always certain that he would overcompensate. As one reader noted in an email to me today — The Republicans…
…will cast him as a pot-smoking, coke-snorting (and maybe drug-dealing) [black man]…if he was seen as advocating or soft on drugs, can you see it now: “he’s just a [black man] who wants to legalize drugs!”
And that is the reality of mainstream politics in the Democratic and Republican party today. (I’ll have a separate discussion about Barr and others who are running in 3rd parties later — but in this post, I’m just talking about the Dems and Repubs.)
No Presidential candidate will come out of those two parties with the nomination and a strong reform position on drug policy. Not gonna happen. At least not for some time. So by ridiculing Obama’s position on the drug war, I’m certainly not saying that anyone else is going to come out of that stink with a better smell. Certainly not McCain. Remember, change comes from the bottom. That’s where we have to focus our efforts. It would be nice to believe that we could magically elect a leader that would change it all for us and save us all the grunt work, and I have my own daydream fantasies about what I’d do if I somehow suddenly became President (without having to prostitute myself to actually win the damn job), but I’m way too far down on the succession list, so it’s just a daydream.
So, is there any reason to care about the Presidential election if we don’t expect any real change from the top regarding drug policy?
Let me tell you what I’m looking for. I’m looking for a candidate who won’t be using the power of the federal government to actively prevent us from fomenting bottom-up change. The things that endanger us as free citizens also endanger our ability to function as a free citizenry. Authoritarian rule and lying to the people are two of the worst, and these have been the ascendant characteristics of this administration.
So, once I realize that anything that the two-party Presidential candidates say about the drug war are bullshit, I then take a look at them and ask myself: Which is more likely to promote authoritarian rule? Which is more likely to encourage and facilitate an ONDCP and DEA that lie to the people? Which is more likely to squelch dissent or treat drug war dissenters as a threat to the country? And as far as I can tell at this point, McCain wins the prize.
So, drug policy reform from Obama? Not a chance. Benign neglect? Possibly. Attempts to reverse, or slow, an authoritarian trend? Hopefully.
Update: Via Reuters:
During a fund-raiser in Denver, Obama Ö a former constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago Law School Ö was asked what he hoped to accomplish during his first 100 days in office.
‹I would call my attorney general in and review every single executive order issued by George Bush and overturn those laws or executive decisions that I feel violate the constitution,Š said Obama.