When President Obama ran for president in 2007-08, he promised change but all we have gotten is more of the same failed policies and betrayal from elected officials. The biggest failure has been the drug war and the biggest betrayal has been President Obama’s refusal to end a drug policy that he knows does not work.
President Obama admits he used marijuana and cocaine in his youth yet he continues to support a drug policy that has sent millions of people convicted of non-violent so-called drug crimes to increasingly privatized prisons for profit who offered states cash to take over their prisons as long as those prisons were kept 90% full. This is slavery as the 13th Amendment of the Constitution left slavery intact as punishment for crime that includes victimless drug crimes. What is ironic is that the constitutional amendment used to free African slaves is the same amendment that permits the enslavement of their descendents who make up the bulk of these types of prisoners but also includes Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans and Cacuasians.
The United States, the so-called land of liberty, the land of the free now enslaves more people on prison plantations than any country in the world and isn’t it ironic that President Obama’s inauguration theme was taken from President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address: "A New Birth of Freedom." The vast majority of these 21st century slaves are non-violent drug offenders who need employment or resources to help them overcome their addictions. Most people who have any experience with the prison plantation system know that drugs are available in prisons. Furthermore, those who are put to work are paid less than two dollars a day in many states and while they are working, they are not paid enough to help care for their families. Instead, a heavy burden is placed on those families.
President Obama in terms of the drug war is worse than any president who has come before him. Candidate Obama once said that he thought going after people and businesses in states that have legalized medicinal marijuana would be a waste of federal resources. However, President Obama has done the exact opposite and wasted scarce federal tax dollars on a failed decades old drug policy that is only getting more expensive.
For an example, it is projected by 2019 the taxpayers of North Carolina will pay roughly $23,529.00 per year to enslave a non-violent drug offender on a prison plantation which are increasingly becoming overcrowded. Yet, in Gaston County, NC alone, almost 100 teacher assistants will lose their jobs this year putting a burden on teachers and diminishing the education of our children. Last year Mecklenburg County almost scrapped its sports programs for middle schools and had proposed charging fees to struggling parents/tax payers who wanted their children to participate in something my generation took for granted. Mecklenburg county in 2010 struggled to keep libraries open which assist low income children who may not have access to needed resources at home like computers not to mention the lost jobs of library employees..
If we jump across the nation to California, which is facing a budget crisis and prison overcrowding that the Supreme Court of the United States ruled unconstitutional, we see the same problem. Again, the majority of these prisoners are non-violent drug offenders. In Los Angeles, parents, children and other members of the community are protesting cuts to the city's after-school programs.
If cuts to essential services are not enough to cause the middle class to be in an uproar, I am not done yet. The United States has already spent billions of dollars and proposes spending more to stop the flow of drugs from Mexico but the drugs keep flowing along with the blood in the streets of Mexico. The drugs are so plentiful that they are cheaper than they were 30 years ago and more potent. The Drug War does not and has not ever worked and does not make for good fiscal policy. There was some hope that change in drug policy was forthcoming in Mexico with a new president but signs hint that he too will bow to pressure from the United States and follow Washington’s orders to continue a failed policy that has been rejected by the people of that country.
However, U.S. tax dollars flowing south of the border to fight a failed drug war does not stop in Mexico and not only are we exporting U.S. tax dollars but we are also exporting police brutality by sending DEA agents to assist Honduran cops which were involved in the killing of innocents including one incident that claimed the lives of two pregnant women. Sound familiar?
As if we have not wasted enough resources on this failed policy and destroyed countless lives in the process, Americans are still struggling to find employment while U.S. politicians are discussing cuts to Medicaid services for the poor in several states as well as threats to cut funding from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Obama administration announces it is expanding the drug war to Africa on the behalf of Europeans. It is not enough that the U.S. taxpayer has to subsidize the military defenses of Europe and Northern Africa (Israel and Egypt), now we are going to subsidize their drug war as well when most European countries have been moving towards drug decriminalization and treating it as a health issue and not a criminal one. Thanks to our subsidies, they are free to spend their tax dollars on real Universal Healthcare for their citizens.
The New York Times reports,
In May, William R. Brownfield, the assistant secretary of state for international narcotics and law enforcement, a leading architect of the strategy now on display in Honduras, traveled to Ghana and Liberia to put the finishing touches on a West Africa Cooperative Security Initiative, which will try to replicate across 15 nations the steps taken in battling trafficking groups operating in Central America and Mexico.
It is far past time the American people stood up and said no more to this insanity. Just as easily as President Obama has expanded the drug war, he can easily end this out of control budget busting madness. Instead of sending cryptic messages that he might do something different in a second term through unnamed aides and associates commenting to a men’s magazine that incorrectly states there is little he can do about the Drug War, President Obama needs to be straight with the American people now. Moreover, voters should not automatically pledge their votes to him without some action on the issue right now.
Just as President Obama suspended the deportations of undocumented immigrants brought here as children because it was "the right thing to do", he should do his best Abraham Lincoln impression and emancipate the current slaves on the prison plantation serving time for non-violent drug offenses just as presidential candidate Ron Paul has promised to do if elected president on several occasions. That would be some actual change to believe in and may warrant a second term. If not, let the presidential chips fall where they may. If any politician no matter their party affiliation, supports continuing this failed policy, they should lose their right to represent the American people in any capacity. This issue is that important.
President Obama says he is committed to creating the most open and accessible administration in American history. That begins with taking comments and questions from you, the public.
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I just signed the following petition addressed to: President Barack Obama, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate.
We The People demand an immediate halt to using our federal tax dollars to fund the existing drug war operations in the United States, South America, Africa and Europe. We have had decades to determine that the U.S. international drug war has failed and has cost the U.S. taxpayers trillions of dollars since its inception.
Not only has it cost the U.S. taxpayer money we do not have to waste, but it is also coming at the expense of the education of our children and essential services of Americans during one of the worst economic times in our country’s history. It has brought about the deaths of innocent people at the hands of violent drug cartels and law enforcement officers. As documented in the recent book “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander, it has ruined the lives of those incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses and relegated them to a life of second class citizenship and rendering many of them unemployable.
When the American people are told that we must cut social services and other essential, services for those affected the most by a weak economy, it is absolutely immoral to keep funding a failed policy and it is insane to ask us to now fund the expansion of this failed drug war into Africa for the stated benefit of keeping drugs out of Europe.
Just as alcohol and tobacco use are legal, regulated, taxed and treated as health issues, we demand the same common sense be applied in drug policy. We also demand an immediate end to the continued incarceration of non-violent drug offenders who offenses do not involve the selling or giving of drugs to children. Stop wasting our tax dollars now! We demand an end to this irresponsible stewardship of our government and the enforcement of a tyrannical drug policy that is doing more harm than the actual drugs themselves.
Scotty Reid started this petition with a single signature, and now has 90 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.