Editorial: Different Ideals, Same Conclusions 11/3/00

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David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected]

As Election Tuesday approaches, Americans of all political stripes and persuasions, from all different issue interest groups, are thinking and talking about November 7th and what the day, and the four years that follow it, will bring for our families, our communities, our nation.

Some will vote a party line out of a life-long identification. Some will vote for a candidate in whom they simply believe. Others will vote for what they believe to be a lesser of two evils, and others will cast their ballot based on some more complex political calculus. Some will vote single issue and place their support behind the candidate whose record and positions correspond most closely with their views on one issue of primary importance to them.

Drug policy reform has yet to reach the highest echelons of political power -- neither major party candidate gives us the time of day -- but anti-drug war factions within both parties are growing in numbers and passion. Third party movements advocating drug law reform to greater or lesser degree are growing in strength.

Why does opposition to the prohibitionist drug war span such a wide political spectrum?

Perhaps the answer is built into the clarity of the issue itself. Most policy issues are made up of shades of gray, with compelling cases to be made on all sides and facets. Drug policy, however, is black and white, at least at the level of the most basic questions at stake today: the "war on drugs" must end, for many reasons. Only fear and misinformation stands in the way of this conclusion, a conclusion based on overwhelming evidence, logic and reason -- in the end a basic issue of right and wrong.

Thinkers from all political persuasions, then, can find any number of different pathways leading to the same destination:

  • Liberals who are appalled by racial disparities in law enforcement or the destruction the drug war wreaks on the economically disadvantaged.
  • Conservatives who believe in small, non-intrusive government, and who realize prohibition undermines law and order to an extent that "law and order" type policies can never correct.
  • Strict libertarians who believe the government has no right to control the personal choices of individuals; and civil libertarians who see that the pursuit of hidden drug crimes inevitably dilutes the privacy and civil rights of all people.
  • Practical Americans of all political philosophies, who see that what we are doing isn't working and that some kind of change is needed.
That is why drug reformers can take to the polls on Tuesday and vote for Gore or Bush or Nader or Browne, maybe other candidates too, yet still know that we are all a movement, that we know what is important and what is right on this issue, and can work together. All of us from our different angles, from different communities and bringing different allies, leading all Americans to a better understanding of drug policy and a better way of dealing with substances and substance abuse.

A cause that transcends political boundaries. Simply the right thing to do, for all the right reasons.

-- END --
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Issue #158, 11/3/00 Initiative Endorsements: YES on 3, 5, 8, 9, 20, 36, B, G | Drug Policy in the 2000 Elections: The Dog That Didn't Bark and Races of Note | Reformers' Dilemma: Frick, Frack, or a Prophet from the Wilderness? | Cannabis, Free Speech Issues Converge in Florida, Massachusetts | Follow That Story: Justice Department to Investigate Tulia, Civil Rights Complaint Filed | Hawaii Inches Forward on Medical Marijuana, Rejects DEA Eradication Funds | Municipal Drug Testing On the Way Out in Washington State | Maryland/DC Reports Illustrate Failure and Harm of Drug Prohibition | The Reformer's Calendar | Editorial: Different Ideals, Same Conclusions
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