This week, we present an opportunity to make your voice heard to the New York Times. While we know that we spend much time in this space focusing on the Times, we would note that it is the most widely read, and most influential non- financial newspaper in the country, perhaps the world. It is an important stage of national ideas and opinion, and is therefore important to the enormous effort we have undertaken.
This week's opportunity is in response to an interview of George Soros which appeared in last Sunday's edition. It was written by Christopher Wren and it focused on Mr. Soros' $1 million gift to needle exchange programs. (See "Needle Exchange," section 2, above.) Over the past several years, Mr. Soros has become the single most important funder of drug policy reform efforts around the world. His work extends to all corners of the globe and the projects and organizations that receive his funding, either directly or indirectly (including DRCNet), comprise a who's who of the reform movement.
Mr. Soros has said numerous times that he is not a "legalizer." And many of the recipients of his philanthropy would disagree with some of his views, but what Mr. Soros is promoting is dialogue. He understands that throwing hundreds of thousands of non-violent, mostly young and poor citizens into prison cannot be a constructive response to any social problem. And he is right. Mr. Soros' history is marked by a forceful and consistent stand against oppression, from the Nazis in his native Hungary, to the Communists in eastern Europe as a whole, to dictatorships around the world today, and the Drug warriors here at home. But such principled positions often bring personal attacks and recriminations from those whose interests are being challenged. This is especially true when the challenger puts his money where his mouth is.
So this week we ask that our subscribers send a letter to the New York Times (contact information below), in support not only of the generous donation to needle exchange, but for his courage in bringing his resources to bear on our most shameful and counterproductive social policy. Time has proven that Mr. Soros has consistently been on the right side of the fight against oppression. And history will show that in supporting debate and reform and taking on the vested interests of the Drug War, his instincts are once again correct.
NEW YORK TIMES: Letters to the Editor 229 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036-3959
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