Pubdate: Wed, 22 Sep 1999
Date: 09/22/1999
Source: Honolulu Advertiser (HI)
Author: Wally Bachman

Drug War Overshadows Important Matters

Your main feature in the Sept. 5 Focus section “The dumbing down of
American politics” asserts we are ducking serious issues while
attempting to hide the serious debate arising from George W. Bush’s
refusal to just say, No, I didn’t.

This deceptive article begins with an accurate description of how our
yearlong presidential sex scandal “paralyzed the entire political
establishment, preoccupied the media” and led to a failed push for
impeachment - even though this had nothing to do with any national

The article then attempts to describe the media attention that shifted
from President Clinton to Bush because of Bush’s refusal to deny using
cocaine in his 20’s, as a similar episode.

Most commentators and political leaders such as Jesse Jackson have
stated that they are not interested in pursuing Bush over his
insistence on saying no more than “I made mistakes”. Rather, they say
that this should open the door for serious debate about our
never-ending drug war and its detrimental effects on families and

While it is true that we need to discuss education, the environment
and other important issues, they all suffer from the rapidly expanding
incarceration of nonviolent drug users, which has caused prison
budgets to drain and strain other governmental services across the

Let’s have a real debate about the serious issue of what to do about
the failure of the war on drugs to stop the flow of hard drugs, or to
provide enough treatment for all those in need - and not try to stifle
the discussion by simply calling the opposition "dumb."

Wally Bachman