Framing the Issue

re: framing the issue: in the recent article on Ireland the term "re-legalisation" was used, and i thought that was a good term. we could frame it in the context of "restoring constitutional freedoms" or "restoring basic American freedoms to disenfranchised populations", both of which speak subconsciously to conservatives' nostalgic longing for "the good old days" as well as tapping into the Pavlovian response Bush has created to sell his agenda by repeated use of the word "freedom" in conjuction with even the most oppressive activities. other soundbytes include "demanding that our legislature listen to the voice of mainstream America instead of bowing to the will of special interests which profit from the war on drugs", or "ending the rampant government corruption associated with the failed war on drugs", again tapping the populist/nationalist sentiments that Bush has made all the rage with words like "mainstream America". the Republicans have been very successful with such framing tactics, such as with their mantra of "tax relief" to sell their agenda of shifting the tax burden to the working poor, so if it can be used to sell a lie, it should be that much more effective in selling the truth, yes? susan 28
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Framing the Issue

I deeply appreciate the effort to frame the drug war debacle in terms perhaps more easily digested by many who support it. I wrote the following short essay with the following idea in mind: the ethical arguments against the drug war, valid as they are, are indeed a tough sell to many. However, I strongly believe just about anyone, when effective presented with the data, can easily appreciate the financial fiasco and the resulting resource depletions the war imposes upon our society. And this is a point far less emotional in nature, one that completely avoids the “rights” of drug users and, again, may therefore be more easily heard by those reluctant to listen.

May 3, 2006
Think we, as a society, might be just about ready to start seriously examining the potential wisdom in our finally deciding to bring an end to our war on drugs? While no reasonable individual suggests legalization will come about without addressing those many legitimate concerns and enormous challenges of its own, it is becoming increasingly clear it’s the far lesser of evils.
Let’s forget for the moment this war’s failed objectives. Never mind its unscrupulous origins, its monopolizing agendas or just how much of its supportive sentiments are born purely of propagated fear. Simply disregard its being definitively undemocratic or our nation’s number one proprietor of greed and corruption. Ignore that it’s just plain inhumane, that it clearly flies in the face of freedom or how its inherent hypocrisies fuel defiance and denial. Take a pass on how disgracefully it discounts self-determination, preempts personal responsibility or punishes all for the sins of the few. Dismiss its being precisely the illegality itself that creates the vast majority of violence associated with drugs in the first place or how it breeds such powerful criminal elements all on its own. Pay no attention to the ever-increasing number of experts in the field who insist education and treatment offer the only promising, long-term solutions. Even put aside how dramatically it cripples our system of justice, compromises our nation’s security or finances terrorism. And finally, simply fail to imagine just how much more effectively all our various law enforcement agencies will be enabled to protect our communities, concentrate on actual crimes and threats to our security, if only freed up to do so. Forget all that. If these aspects carry insufficient weight, let’s talk economics.
Deduct the associated monies in all branches and levels of law enforcement, national security, the courts and imprisonment, credit all the various tax revenues afforded by regulated distribution, and any child can do the initial math. Even after figuring generous contributions toward education and treatment, legalization will undoubtedly avail untold billions to help address a few of those other critical issues facing our nation today.
So let’s just forget all those silly arguments regarding this war’s ineffectiveness, injustice, improprieties, hypocrisy, fear-mongering, generated violence, impacts on law enforcement and all those other underlying dangers and damages it imposes upon our society. In the end, we’ll be all the richer for it.
Eric J Haber
Tuolumne CA

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