Editorial: A Message to the President-Elect 11/17/00

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items


recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed


David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected]

Dear Mr. President-Soon-To-Be:

A week and a half after the election, I don't know who you are. At least I don't know for sure. But there is something I do know about you. Not to a judicial certainty, perhaps, depending on whom you turn out to be. But I'm pretty sure that most reasonable people would agree with me.

I know you've used illegal drugs.

You've either admitted it, or you've refused to deny it, having been willing to admit to other similar things. Indeed, you might never openly admit it, or admit to how often it actually happened. But I know it's true; and let's face it, I know that you know that I know it's true. Even if you won't say so out loud.

You've talked about "youthful irresponsibility" and growing up and overcoming the mistakes of your past. You've pleaded privacy. You've declared that your behavior of a quarter century or more ago has no relevance to your suitability for the office of President of the United States today.

And you have a valid point. It would be unfortunate, perhaps disastrous, were every past user of any illegal drug to be disqualified from positions of responsibility. I'm willing to grant you the privacy argument, and I'm more than willing to forgive you for "youthful indiscretions." Certainly, the public at large has the right to make such determinations too. You have ample subsequent history, in public office or private life, on which to judge your suitability for the nation's highest office. Based on that history, I decided not to vote for you. But that's only one individual's personal choice.

There's one sticking point, though, that I can't quite get past. It's your drug policies. Under your tenure as Texas Governor or federal Vice President, incarcerations have nearly doubled. You've presided over, sometimes encouraged, mandatory minimum sentences, sending countless nonviolent offenders to prison for much, sometimes most or all of their lives. None of them had the social, medical or legal resources that enabled you to be certain you would never suffer serious consequences for your actions.

You've gone so far as to incarcerate medical marijuana patients, or to allow them to be incarcerated under your authority. And you seem to support stripping students convicted of drug offenses of the educational financial aid that you would never have needed, but which they do.

So I agree that your "youthful indiscretions" aren't all that important. But whether your policies toward today's youth reflect a similar tolerance, or at least forgiveness, for their indiscretions, is very important, and has defining implications for your leadership and character.

Two million Americans languish behind bars, nearly half a million of for nonviolent drug offenses. Yet you ran an entire campaign without discussing this issue more than minimally. I think I know why. But I hope you don't think you'll be able to get away with that for four more years, let alone eight. Because you should know that you won't.

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #160, 11/17/00 Interview: Federal Judge Denounces Drug War | New Jersey: Racial Profiling Documents to Be Released | Catholic Bishops Call for Broad Criminal Justice Reforms | Southern Legislators to Look at Asset Forfeiture Reform | Britain: Labour on Drugs, Wobbly and Confused | Sweden: Small Cracks Emerge in Drug War Consensus in Europe's Bastion of Reaction | Newsbrief: California Governor Finally Appoints Drug Czar in Wake of Proposition 36 | Needle Exchange and AIDS: Health Emergency 2001 Report, Infectious Disease Society Endorsement, Global Epidemic | Criminal Defense Lawyers Demand End to Drug War | The Reformer's Calendar | Editorial: A Message to the President-Elect
Mail this article to a friend
Send us feedback on this article
This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Subscribe now!
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts

StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]