Given that I support the argument against making him Veep, I think it’s only fair to also highlight one area where he’s a Democratic standout.
Take it away Spencer Ackerman:
Katrina vanden Heuvel reports on Jim Webb’s efforts to do something profoundly valuable for the country: end the drug war.
In addition to the drug supply remaining constant, the incarceration epidemic has failed to curb illegal drug use while also “devastating our minority communities.” Senator Webb said, “the number of persons in custody on drug charges increased thirteen times in the past 25 years…[And] when it comes to incarceration for drug offenses, the racial disparities are truly alarming. Although African Americans constitute 14 percent of regular drug users, they are 37 percent of those arrested for drug offenses, and 56 percent of persons in state prisons for drug crimes…Our current combination of enforcement, diversion, interdiction, treatment and prevention is not working the way we need it to…There has been little effort to take a comprehensive look at the relationship between the many interlocking pieces of drug policy.”
And that’s by design. For an entire generation, avaricious white politicians have ignored how the repeatedly-refuted drug war has compounded, not alleviated, the scourge of narcotics in minority communities. Why? Because there aren’t enough votes in solving the problems of poor, non-white America.
For me, it was actually international relations that took me from skeptical of the war on drugs to strongly opposed. Civil wars and organized crime the world over are financed by drugs. It all sees so futile to me. We’re genuinely winning in Columbia, FARC has lost a lot of men and leadership and the country is doing better as a whole, but even so the amount of coca cultivation rises. Trying to fight poppy cultivation is a critical complicating factors we’re facing in Afghanistan.
To be clear I love the U.S.’s moves against smoking in recent years. They’ve been highly effective and made many places much more pleasant for non-smokers to boot. I’m perfectly fine with even some harsh public health measures, but how about we do it without shooting people, eh?